EC Moved to Defer Approval Given for Koodankulum Reactors
Greenpeace, an environmental group, on Tuesday approached the Election Commission seeking to defer the approval of the Koodankulam nuclear power project units 3 and 4, as “the UPA government is signing the agreement with Russia in undue haste and it should be scrutinised”. In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, Greenpeace India executive director Samit Aich said the Koodankulam project was on shaky ground legally and there was a case that is pending in the Supreme Court regarding the civil liability of the Russian suppliers at Koodankulam.The move comes in the wake of reports that both the countries are set to sign an agreement later this month after issues related to liability have been sorted out.
“The opacity with which the negotiations have been conducted on this project has been denounced by many eminent citizens as well as local people protesting in Tamil Nadu. The government has tried to manoeuvre around the liability of foreign suppliers of nuclear reactors in the past by introducing rules which go against the fundamental provisions of the Nuclear
Liability Act,” said the letter. It further said the current attempt by the government to hurriedly conclude the negotiation without explaining its decision to the people or Parliament should be challenged as it wants to ensure the private profit of the foreign supplier is not jeopardized and for this, they are willing to undermine the safety and security of its own citizens.
Under the banner of the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy, people in the vicinity of the Koodankulam plant started protesting against the it, fearing for their safety, after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. They also feared it would affect their livelihood.
The matter then went to the SC and in May, 2013, it had given the project the go ahead with 15 conditions on ensuring the safety at the facility and the handling of the spent fuel among other things.