Apex Court favours independent safety regulator for n-plants
Favouring an independent safety regulator to assess various aspects relating to establishment and operation of nuclear plants in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that it could direct the Centre to put in place an agency, completely free from any kind of control of the government.
"We understand the significance of an independent regulator. We also realise that the independence becomes further important since right now we have only Kudankulam nuclear plant in question but this issue could arise in other similar cases too. We cannot ask them (government) to regulate but we can certainly ask them to implement their own decisions based on international conventions," said a Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra.
Earlier, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who has been leading a petition over safety of Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, had cited the Convention on Nuclear Safety and pointed that India had also ratified it, thereby making it obligatory on the government to ensure an independent safety regulator.
According to Bhushan, the Atomic Energy Regulator Board (AERB) was not an independent agency and that this view was also reflected by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in his recent performance audit of the Department of Atomic Energy.
"We don't want to comment on the CAG. There is already a lot of controversies between the CAG and the government and we don't want to add to that by giving our comments. What we can say is that the international convention, to which India is a signatory, must be implemented. We will definitely examine this," said the court.
It also directed the AERB and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to file an affidavit on the steps taken to implement the 17 additional safety measures recommended by an expert committee. The Bench will now hear the matter on Tuesday next week.
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