English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PTI / Tuesday, June 12, 2012 20:22 IST

Asserting that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant belonged to the “highest safety category” of plants currently in operation in the world, the Centre on Tuesday sought dismissal of petitions in the Madras High Court against the Rs 14,000 crore Indo-Russian project.

In a joint counter-affidavit to a batch of petitions, the Department of Atomic Energy and Atomic Energy Commission said no technological endeavour was free from certain amount of risk, but assured that the authorities were fully prepared to meet and face any eventuality at the KNPP in Tamil Nadu.

The affidavit said since the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), empowered to enforce safety provisions under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, in all the DAE units, had been doing this in a very transparent and effective manner there was no need for fresh review of KNPP.

A high-level committee of the AERB for review and safety of nuclear power plants in the country in the light of Fukoshima accident in Japan had submitted its report and implementation of the recommendations were being pursued with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

NPCIL suggestions would be taken into account while giving clearance for subsequent commissioning of stages, as applicable, the affidavit said.

It said the 1000 MW each KNPP reactors 1 & 2 “are categorised as Generation III Plus plants meaning thereby have the latest safety features.”

The Chernobyl and Fukoshima mishaps were no doubt among the worst calamities but, KNPP had been designed in such a manner that similar disasters could not happen, it said adding it was also well protected from a possible tsunami or other disasters.

Besides, there was a full fledged ‘Crisis Management Group’, responsible to lay down guidelines, policy and procedures to be followed to meet any eventuality, it said.

Stating that already over Rs 14,000 crore had been spent on the project as on October 31 last, it said any temporary stoppage of work would result in a colossal wastage of national funds and resources.

The petitioners cannot assume and presume and indulge in wild imaginations as if everything was going to be disastrous,the counter said.

The fact that the petitioners made no representation of any kind in the last 22 years during the construction of the KNPP ‘is evident to prove the writ petition is purely a publicity oriented litigation’, the counter said and sought its dismissal with exemplary costs.

The plant had faced stiff opposition from locals on safety grounds. After remaining stalled, work on its commissioning resumed in March last after the state government gave its nod.