The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the center what guarantee it could provide that there would be no radioactive substance in the spent fuel to be stored at the controversial Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and how it would prevent an accident.
Posing searching queries on the functional safety of the power plant, a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra also asked the center if any environmental impact assessment was done on the project.
The bench said it would next hear the case Sept. 27, saying it would also pass appropriate orders after examining the issue at length.
“It is not adversarial. We are concerned with the people’s rights and interests. It is in public interest. What will be the guarantee that there will be no radioactive material in it? In 1984 there was the Bhopal gas tragedy. But the problem of waste is still there. If there is a problem, how to meet it?” the bench asked Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman and Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, who appeared for the center.
The bench is dealing with a petition filed by social activist G. Sundarrajan challenging the Madras High Court’s decision not to impose any restraint against the plant, despite the alleged non-compliance of several safety measures recommended by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
Appearing for the petitioner, counsel Prashant Bhushan told the bench that not only 11 out of the 17 recommendations made by the AERB were violated by the government but even minimum statutory norms like environmental assessment impact, disaster management study and other safety measures have been overlooked for loading the fuel in the plant.
“Was any environmental impact assessment done?” the bench asked the center to which Parasaran nodded in the affirmative.