The Supreme Court on Monday gave its green light for the commissioning of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu.
A Bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said KKNPP had been set up as part of India’s policy to develop and use atomic energy for the welfare of the people. Policy makers consider nuclear energy as an important element in India’s energy mix for sustaining economic growth of natural and domestic use, the bench said.
Justice Radhakrishnan said, “The project proponent has taken all safety requirements on and off site and has followed the code of practices laid down by AERB ...”
Safeguarding nuclear plants, radioactive materials and ensuring its physical security have become a central part of nuclear law. Measures have to be taken for storage of Nuclear Spent Fuel (NSF) on the site and also for the physical safety of stored NSF, he added. “Of the seventeen safety measures suggested by the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board), 12 have already been implemented and the rest, in a phased manner have to be implemented...,” he said.
“The emergency preparedness plan, off site and on site and all programmes under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are progressing in the right direction...,” he said. “Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), has also received the necessary environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for Units 1 to 6. No violation of Coastal Regulation Zone was noticed,” the bench noted.
“A desalination plant was also established after following rules and regulations. Experts say that there will be no impact on the marine eco-system. Radiation impact on the eco-system is also within the standard set by AERB, MoEF, EAC, Pollution Control Board etc so opined by the experts,” the bench observed.
Justice Dipak Misra, however cautioned that the plant should not be made operational unless the AERB, NPCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy accord final clearance for commissioning of the plant ensuring the quality of various components and systems.