This Article is From Aug 31, 2012

Kudankulam nuclear plant gets green signal from Madras High Court: 10 big developments

Kudankulam nuclear plant gets green signal from Madras High Court: 10 big developments
Chennai: The Madras High Court has given its go-ahead for the two 1,000 MW Russian reactors at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP). The Rs. 13,000-crore first phase of the project covers reactors 1 and 2, and has seen many hiccups. There have been big protests for months by thousands of villagers and activists who have said that they are not convinced that the plant is safe. They are also worried about ecological damage by radioactivity which would affect the livelihood of thousands of fishermen around the plant.

Here are the 10 big developments in the story:

  1. The Madras High Court has given its nod today for the commissioning of the two 1,000 MW Russian reactors at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP). The court said there are no impediments against the two units of the mega atomic power project.

  2. The court has dismissed the petition that had challenged the clearance given by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for loading nuclear fuel. The judges observed that the court doesn't have the expertise in this matter and it cannot suspect the AERB's expertise. The nuclear regulator had earlier given its nod to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to load the fuel in the first reactor on August 10.

  3. The court has directed the AERB to ensure that all the 17 safety recommendations, made by the task force after the Fukushima tragedy, be complied with as committed to the court. Only six of the 17 recommendations have been implemented so far.

  4. The Tamil Nadu government has been asked to set up quality schools affiliated with CBSE and state board in and around Kudankulam along with multi-speciality hospital, a port with cold storage facility and other key infrastructure for the fishing community. It has also asked the state government to conduct offshore safety drills involving local people.

  5. The Public Interest Litigation, that the court rejected today, had sought that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) should get a fresh environment clearance for the project. The petition also sought a stay on the installation of two reactors.

  6. The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) convenor SP Udayakumar, who is leading the protest against the plant, said the verdict "is one-sided and against the people, who are struggling for the past one year in a democratic way. Injustice has been done and we will appeal in the Supreme Court."

  7. On August 21, the court had ordered TNPCB to file the fresh consent order for the project and sought an affidavit from the AERB, detailing the implementation of the safety recommendations made by a task force set up by NPCIL at KNPP.

  8. Work at the plant was suspended in September last year when the Tamil Nadu cabinet asked the Prime Minister to halt all operations till residents in the area were reassured that they were safe. The Prime Minister sent V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, to meet with villagers.

  9. In a sudden U-turn on March 19 this year, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa said the operations at the plant could begin, after an expert committee set up by her government submitted report which gave a clean chit to the safety aspects.

  10. The region has been tense since March 19, when the Tamil Nadu government said operations at the nuclear plant could begin. Activists and thousands of villagers had set up large camps in protest at Idinthakarai adjoining Kudankulam. Nearly 200 protesters were arrested after they defied section 144 around the site.