Ex-bureaucrats, scientists move SC against N-plant

New Delhi: Members of civil society, including former bureaucrats, scientists, a former Navy Chief and NGOs, on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court seeking its direction to stay construction of all proposed nuclear power plants.

They have filed a joint PIL pleading that the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, be declared as unconstitutional and appoint an expert independent body to conduct a thorough safety reassessment of all existing and proposed nuclear facilities in the country.

"Issue an appropriate writ cancelling clearances given to proposed nuclear power plants and staying all proposed nuclear power plants till requisite safety assessment studies, thorough comparative cost-benefit analysis and meaningful public hearings are carried out by or under the supervision of an independent expert body," the petition said.

The petitioners, who include former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian, former Chief of Naval Staff L Ramdas, former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, former Secretary to the Prime Minister KR Venugopal and nuclear scientist P M Bhargava, pleaded an expert nuclear regulator independent of the government be set up to do a comparative cost-benefit analysis vis-a-vis other sources of energy.

They submitted the apex court should rule that in the case of a nuclear accident, all nuclear operators and suppliers, would be jointly and severally and absolutely liable for civil damages and their financial liability would be unlimited.