Mehal Jain | LiveLaw
A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Monday directed Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file an affidavit on the compliance of the directions issued by the apex court in the 2013 judgment on G Sunderrajan v. UOI, pertaining to the setting up of a nuclear power plant in the South-Eastern tip of India, at Kudankulam in the State of Tamil Nadu, as well as for the construction of the Away From Reactor (AFR) facility for storage of the nuclear waste.
The bench was hearing an application for extension of time for the compliance with the directions, the deadline for which is May 2018.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, advanced, “There is a lack of any facility for the storage of Spent Fuel from the reactor…even the site for storage has not been selected…a deep underwater facility had been sought to be established…”
“It is not some toxic material which harms the environment…they are only fuel rods which amount to a few tonnes of material once their life is over…”, submitted Mehta.
“Once they are out of service for the generation of power, they remain radioactive for hundreds of years…this is what happened in Fukushima (2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan)…radiations were released in the environment from the Spent Fuel…people in more than 20 miles radius were displaced…sea water was contaminated…instances of cancer grew manifold,“ responded Bhushan….
“Where are you storing the Spent Fuel right now,” posed Chief Justice Misra at the ASG. “At present, it is being stored in the campus itself…this is not waste which is to be dumped…it has to be reprocessed,” replied Mehta.
“The site evaluation report in respect of the AFR facility has been submitted by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL)…reports on other concerns as the temperature of water and radiation shielding have also been submitted…,” he added.
“Has the approval of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) been obtained,” inquired Justice Chandrachud. Mehta responded in the negative.