New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to file an affidavit indicating the progress made on safety features of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the report from NPCIL, after it was informed that the nuclear plant has advanced safety features.
The nuclear plant was designed to withstand earthquakes and other such threats, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, eppearing for the NPCIL, told the bench.
The bench was hearing an application filed by NPCIL seeking an extension of time to complete the away-from-reactor (AFR) facility for spent fuel according to the top court’s directions passed in a judgment in May 2013.
NPCIL sought extension until April 2022 for the construction of an AFR facility for the Kudankulam plant.
Mehta told the bench that process to complete the AFR facility was going on and the spent fuel is stored near the plant, which is designed to survive earthquakes as per the specific site.
Adovcate Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for the petitioner, opposed the NPCIL plea, contending that even after the fuel rods were out of service, they remain radioactive for a long time.
The apex court by its 2013 judgement gave nod to operationalise the first unit of the KNPP with a direction to the government and NPCIL to submit a report on the compliance of all safety steps before the plant is commissioned.
It had asked the government and the NPCIL to find suitably safe areas to dispose the nuclear waste and also issued guidelines on commissioning, safety and security and environmental issues concerning the nuclear plant.
Giving a judicial nod for the commissioning of the KKNPP, the top court in the judgement had noted that of the “17 suggested safety measures, by AERB, LWR, 12 have already been implemented” and the rest have to be implemented in a phased manner, as per experts, for extra security.