SC refuses to stay fuel loading at Kudankulam n-plant

Kknpp

The Supreme Court today refused to stay loading of fuel for nuclear power plant at Kudankulam but agreed to examine the risk associated to the project, saying safety of people living in its vicinity is of prime concern.

"Public safety is of prime importance. There are poor people living in the vicinity of the plant and they should know that there life would be protected," a Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra said while posting the matter for hearing on September 20.

The Bench, which refused to stay the fuel loading after the centre assured the court that commissioning of the plant will take place at least two months, said it would go through the judgements of the Madras High Court and hear the matter.

"We are not against the plant, nor the petitioner but we want to see that recommendations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on the safety measures have been implemented," the bench said.

The Centre was represented in full strength with Attorney General G E Vahanvati, Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman and Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran vociferously opposing the plea for staying fuel loading.

The Centre said the plant is "completely safe". Since all the recommendations made by the Board cannot be put in place in one go, It would be implemented in due course within six months to two years, it said.

The court was hearing an appeal by social activist G Sundarrajan against the High Court's decision refusing to impose any restraint against the plant.

Briefing mediapersons, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, who had filed a plea in the Supreme Court demanding a stay on fuel loading, said, "The court asked the government whether these 17 recommendations (of AERB) have been made, and whether they have been complied with or not. The government said that these are only additional recommendations by way of abundant caution. They said safety aspects have been dealt with other judgement related to environmental clearance of the project. Since that is a much longer judgement, the court wanted to go through it."

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