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Supreme Court allows commissioning of Kudankulam nuclear power plant

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AGENCIES AND ONLINE BUREAU   |   Published 06.05.13, 12:00 AM

New Delhi, May 6: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition against the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, observing that the plant is “safe and secure” and is necessary for larger public interest and economic growth of the company.

Nuclear power plants are needed in the country for the present and future generations, a bench of justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said, while dismissing the petition filed by Chennai based information-technology professional G. Sunderrajan.

But the court also laid down 15 guidelines on commissioning, safety and security and environmental issues concerning the plant.

The petitioner had urged to court to ensure that the government implements the extra safety measures recommended by a task force set up following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

The court has also asked the authorities to endeavour to withdraw criminal cases against those protesting the plant's commissioning.

Anti-nuclear activists said they were disappointed witht he Supreme Court judgment, terming it as “unjust” and said their protests will continue.

“The Supreme Court judgement is unjust,” M Pushparayan, one of the leaders of People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy or PMANE, which is spearheading the protests against the commissioning of the plant, told PTI.

“We did not file the case directly. Our supporters 'Poovulagin Nanbargal' (friends of earth) filed the case”. Our protests would continue, he said.

Asked about PMANE's course of action now, he said, “We will talk to our supporters and soon chalkout a plan of action.”

PMANE coordinator S P Udayakumar was not immediately available for a comment.

Senior officials at KNPP welcomed the verdict and said work “was already on full swing for commissioning of the plant.

“We are yet to receive the copy of the order. But prima facie, it is welcome,” KNPP Station Director R S Sundar told PTI over phone.

Asked about the status of preparatory work at the first unit of KNPP, he said “We have already submitted our applications to the AERB [Atomic Energy Regulatory Board] and the review is going on. We are sure that our work will get sanction from AERB soon.”

The Kudankulam project, being set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India with Russian technology around 650km from Chennai in Tirunelveli district, has been facing peoples’ protests for nearly two years now.

The protests, which gained momentum after a tsunami damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s cooling system and led to a meltdown, had delayed the commissioning of the 1000mw first phase.

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