CHENNAI, August 2, 2012
“The board gave the consent after fully satisfying itself”
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) gave its consent for operating the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project on July 23, its counsel submitted before the Madras High Court on Wednesday.
During the resumed hearing of a batch of petitions before a specially-constituted Division Bench, comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and M. Duraiswamy, counsel Rita Chandrasekar said that the board gave the consent after fully satisfying itself and due inspection.
The order issued by the Member-Secretary stated: “Consent is hereby granted under Section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and under Section 21 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.” The consent was subject to provision of the Acts, rules and orders and also subject to the terms incorporated in the special and general conditions.
A copy of the order was filed before the court.
No to public hearing
Mohan Parasaran, Additional Solicitor-General, appearing for the Centre and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, said that units I and II of the KKNPP were initiated in 1989 itself. No useful purpose would be served if a public hearing for the units was held now when adequate awareness and various expert committees had gone into various issues/concerns raised in respect of the project.
The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991 was prospective and, for a project initiated in 1989, the notification could not be applied. An administrative note was also placed before the court whereby the PMO had clearly advised that the project should be exempted from any CRZ regulations that may come into force. Further, the 2001 CRZ notification clearly exempted Department of Atomic Energy projects from obtaining CRZ clearance.
On the issue of spent fuel of the plant, an additional affidavit was filed stating that the spent fuel would be buried deep as per Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.
Krishna Srinivasan, counsel for the project, said that the pollution control board had given consent in 2004 for establishing the plant. It was valid for two years or till such time the company took steps to initiate the project. It had been demonstrated that the company had taken various steps to initiate the project within two years.
I.S. Inbathurai, Special Government Pleader, said the district administration conducted an offsite drill at Nakkaneri on June 9 this year. He filed the AERB’s report in this regard.
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