High court questions permission to make Kudankulam plant operational

Judgement in related case on nuclear safety is likely on August 29

By Ankur Paliwal
Published: Thursday 23 August 2012

The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to file a fresh affidavit explaining the reason for permitting the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) to operate. 

The high court bench was hearing the two public interest petitions  filed by one G Sundararajan. The first petition was against the permission given by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to load fuel in the two reactors of Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The second one challenged the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board's consent order for operation of the plant.

On Tuesday, the same bench had pulled up TNPCB for “not applying its mind” while giving consent to Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the project proponent, to operate the plant. TNPCB, in its consent order, had allowed the heat tolerance limit for effluent discharge from the plant into the sea at 45°C. As per environment impact assessment norms, only a maximum rise of 7°C beyond the ambient temperature of 29°C is permissible. The higher temperature would lead to rise in temperature at the discharge point in the sea.

In the petition concerning AERB, the petitioner has challenged the order of AERB to load fuel at the Kudankulam plant without implementing the safety recommendations made by a task force set up by the Central government after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The court had also asked AERB to file an affidavit detailing the implementation of the task force recommendations. In its affidavit filed on Thursday, AERB stated that of the 17, six recommendations have been implemented at KNPP and the balance 11 would be implemented in a phased manner over a period of six months to two years. According to the petitioner, AERB had earlier told the court in some other case that it would issue clearances only after completion implementation of safety measures. The judgement in this case is likely to be proounced on August 29.


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