On Aug 31, the Madras High Court had allowed the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to load fuel in the plant's first reactor. However, activists who are opposed to commissioning of the plant challenged this order in the Supreme Court.
Appearing on their behalf, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan argued in the apex court today that many changes have been made in the Kudankulam plant since 1989 when environmental clearance was last given. He appealed for another environment impact assessment to be done soon.
After Bhushan alleged that the Centre is keen on commissioning the plant mainly because a huge amount of money has been invested in it, the court said, "It is a serious matter and we are taking it seriously. Everyone is concerned with the safety of the people around the plant. If we are not satisfied with the safety, we can stop it."
Earlier the NPCIL stated in an affidavit that "All safety measures are in place. Even if a Fukushima type of incident were to occur, Kudankulam is fully equipped to withstand any such unlikely event."
The court was informed that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had recently given a clearance for the commissioning of the first unit at the plant. Other mandatory licences for the Kudankulam plant have also been obtained, the Centre told the court.
Over the last one year, villagers living near the plant have organised several protests because they fear a nuclear radiation leak. The Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has been at the forefront of the stir. Their contention is that radioactivity will impact the ecology and affect the livelihoood of fisherfolk.