THE SUPREME Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) on a petition challenging Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances to four units of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.
A bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur agreed to examine an appeal by activist G Sundarrajan, who claimed that the National Green Tribunal had erroneously declined to look into clearances to units 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu merely on the premise that a 2013 judgment of the apex court did not mention these units.
Representing Sundarrajan, advocate Prashant Bhushan pointed out that in its 2013 judgment the court had confined itself to clearances to units 1 and 2, and did not examine CRZ approvals to other units.
He said the mandatory Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for these units has been done by an unaccredited agency, Engineers India Ltd. He contended that there is a non-application of mind in the granting of CRZ clearance, as various environmental issues have not been dealt with.
Bhushan told the bench, “Earlier, it was submitted by NPCIL that the ambient temperature of the ocean would rise by 7 degrees Celsius when units 1 and 2 are operational. Now they say it will rise only by 3 degrees Celsius even though four such units with higher capacity are being planned. The cumulative effect will have to be taken into account.”
By its judgment in May 2013, the Supreme Court had given its nod to the national policy for establishment of Kudankulam nuclear power plant and held that all safety standards have been complied with.