Kudankulam power plant gets Supreme Court nod

The Supreme Court gave its green signal to the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu on Monday.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court gave its green signal to the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu on Monday.

Dismissing a host of PILs challenging the Madras High Court’s earlier order in favour of the plant, the apex court today termed the operationalisation of Kudankulam nuclear power plant as necessary for the country’s growth.

Stressing that development of nuclear energy is important for India, the court said, “Kudankulam plant is safe and secure and it is necessary for larger public interest and economic growth of the country.”

"While setting up a project of this nature, we have to have an overall view of larger public interest rather than smaller violation of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution," an apex court bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

"We have to balance economic scientific benefits with that of minor radiological detriments on the touchstone of our national nuclear policy. Economic benefit... has to be viewed on a larger canvas which not only augment our economic growth but alleviate poverty and generate more employment," the court said.

"Larger public interest of the community should give way to individual apprehension of violation of human rights and right to life guaranteed under Article 21," the court said.

Justice Radhakrishnan said: "The court has to respect national nuclear policy of the country reflected in the Atomic Energy Act and the same has to be given effect to for the welfare of the people and the country`s economic growth and it is with these objectives in mind KNPP has been set up."

"Public money running into crores and crores of rupees has already been spent for the development, control and use of atomic energy for the welfare of the people and, hence, we have to put up with such minor inconveniences, minor radiological detriments and minor environmental detriments," the court said.

Justice Misra said: "The AERB as the regulatory authority and the MoEF are obliged to perform their duty that safety measures are adequately taken before the plant commences its operation."

"Safety, security and life would constitute a pyramid within the sanctity of Article 21 and no jettisoning is permissible," Justice Misra said.

"Therefore, I am obliged to think that the delicate balance in other spheres may have some allowance but in the case of establishment of a nuclear plant, the safety measures would not tolerate any lapse. The grammar has to be totally different," he said.

"Problems highlighted, while setting up a nuclear plant, are not unique to this nation, because other countries are also grappling with those situations," the court said.

The operationalisation of the KNPP had run into rough weather with massive protests by the locals and activists who were apprehensive about the safety measures undertaken. They had said that additional safety measures which had been prescribed by a government task force had not been implemented.

The Centre has dismissed the concerns regarding safety and has claimed that enhanced safety measures would be implemented in due course.

Agitation regarding KNPP has been going on for the past two years, with agitators demanding the closure of the plant and camping at Idinthakarai, three kilometres away from the plant complex to put pressure on the government.

Expressing unhappiness over the Supreme Court order which gave the green signal for commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, anti- nuclear activists today termed the decision as "unjust" and said protests will continue.

"The Supreme Court judgement is unjust," M Pushparayan, one of the leaders of People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the stir against the plant commissioning, tolda news agency.

With IANS inputs