SC to govt, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Union government to place on record its “comprehensive plan” for handling the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) which at present is stored near the plant.

The SC on May 6, 2013 had allowed the operationalisation of KKNPP, which was witnessing massive protest from locals, but had issued a slew of safety directions to the Centre, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board as well Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, including setting up of a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for storage of (SNF) away from the plant site.

Appearing for a private litigant, advocate Prashant Bhushan said that though the SC in 2013 had granted five years time to the government and its agencies to set up aDGR, the direction remains unimplemented. The SC in 2018 had granted four more years to the Centre and others to construct DGR, a nuclear waste storage facility away from the plant.

Attorney general R Venkataramani said that the Centre in consultation with AERB and NPCIL has prepared a comprehensive plan which would indicate that the government is taking steps to scrupulously put in place safety measures as directed by the SC. He sought two weeks time to file an affidavit giving details of the plan.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, and Justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala said “the Centre must satisfy the court’s conscience with the steps it has taken and planning to take to maintain high standards of safety at the nuclear power plant. You cannot keep deferring the issue and come back in 2026 to seek four more years for implementing the SC directions. ”

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