SC finds it unnecessary to further examine safety measures at KNPP

New Delhi/Chennai: The Supreme Court Thursday refused to appoint a team headed by former nuclear power regulatory board chairman A. Gopalakrishnan to examine whether 15 directions issued by it were implemented before the regulatory panel gave its nod for commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s (KNPP) first unit.

The decision was given by a bench of Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramajit Sen after taking note of status reports filed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the district collector of Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli on the implementation of 15 directions issued by the court May 7, 2013.

“We find it unnecessary to appoint any committee at this stage since the status report and the affidavits indicate that the respondents are taking necessary steps so as to give effect to various directions, even though some of the directions are yet to be fulfilled, which naturally would take some more time,” said Justice Radhakrishnan speaking for the bench.

“At the moment, we find no reason to give any further directions.”

The court’s decision came while addressing the plea of petitioner G. Sundarrajan, a trustee of NGO Pooulagil Nanmbargal which focuses on the environmental issues, seeking setting up of an expert committee under Gopalakrishnan to examine whether 15 directions issued by the court were complied with before the AERB granted clearance for “First Approach to Criticality” (FAC) of Unit 1 of the KKNPP on July 11, 2013.

The court said that after perusing the various affidavits, it finds that its directions were being “properly addressed” and there was no slackness on the part of the respondents.

It further said that for the “full implementation of directions, evidently, it may take some more time and we are sure that the respondents would make earnest efforts to give effect to all the directions of this court in letter and spirit”.

Reacting to the judgement, Sundarrajan told IANS: “The judgement has strengthened our resolve to fight the nuclear evil. We will continue our fight with greater vigour through all possible democratic ways.”

India’s atomic power plant operator, NPCIL is setting up two Russian made 1,000 MW atomic power plants at an outlay of over Rs.17,000 crore in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district around 650 km from Chennai.

The first unit has started operations and has been connected to the grid after the apex court gave its nod for the plant last year subject to fulfilment of 15 conditions.