‘Environment ministry yet to finalise Kudankulam N-plant report’

Chennai: The union environment and forests ministry is yet to finalise the report of its officials’ visit to Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) site, an anti-KNPP activist said.

“In response to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the ministry replied June 27: ‘The site visit report is neither finalized nor submitted to any agency so far. The decision is yet to be finalized. As on today the information may be treated as nil’,” M. Pushparayan of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) told IANS Saturday.

The RTI application was filed by PMANE’s co-ordinator S.P. Udayakumar June 4 asking the ministry’s action taken so far to fulfill a Supreme Court direction while giving its nod for KNPP in May.

The apex court had directed that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the ministry of environment and forests, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to oversee each and every aspect of the project including safety of the plant, impact on environment, quality of components and systems in the plant before its commissioning.

The apex court had also directed the environment ministry should oversee and monitor whether NPCIL is complying with the conditions laid down, while granting clearance dated Sep 23, 2008 under the provisions of EIA Notification of 2006.

It was to also see that the condition laid down in the environmental clearance granted by it dated Dec 31, 2009 are complied with.

“AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) and the ministry will see that all the conditions stipulated by them are duly complied with before the plant is made operational,” the apex court had held.

Meanwhile, G.Sundarrajan, who had filed the case against KNPP in the apex court, told IANS that it had directed the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw all the cases filed against the agitators so that peace and normalcy is restored but this has not been done yet.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai, with two Russian-made reactors of 1,000 MW each.

KNPP is an outcome of the inter-governmental agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction began only in 2001.

Fearing for their safety in the wake of the nuclear accident in Fukushima in Japan in 2011, villagers in the vicinity of the Kudankulam plant, under the banner of PMANE, have been opposing the project.

The project, however, got delayed mainly due to non-sequential supplies of components from Russian vendors.

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