What About N-Waste from Kudankulam, HC Asks Centre
KUDANKULAM ANTI-NUCLEAR SATYAGRAHA, INDIA, 23 Jul 2012
Where will the nuclear waste from the Kudankulam nuclear power plant be kept and what are the Centre’s plans to process the spent fuel to ensure that it does not damage the environment? This is what the Madras high court, hearing a batch of public interest petitions on the nuclear plant, wants to know from the Centre.
But in the absence of the additional solicitor-general (ASG) of South India, whose term is yet to be extended after it expired earlier this month, counsel for the Centre was groping for an answer on Monday [16 Jul 2012]. When a central advocate said an ASG was not available now, the bench of Justice P Jyothimani and Justice M Duraiswamy observed: “His term has ended. We cannot wait till the appointment of a new ASG.”
The debate over the fate of spent fuel came up after the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) filed a new PIL and sought to be impleaded as a party to the proceedings.
When a human rights forum too sought to implead itself as a party, Justice Jyothimani chided the counsel and said instead of working for the downtrodden, several rights forums were only exploiting the poor. Asking them to see the functioning of rights forums in the US, the judge said, “Here you instigate people and conduct conferences every year.”
Earlier, special government pleader of Tamil Nadu, I S Inbadurai told the bench that the Tirunelveli district police had registered a total of 271 first information reports (FIRs) against the agitating anti-nuclear activists and that 205 people were arrested for various offences and released.
The bench also summoned the Tirunelveli district collector and the chief engineer of the public works department (PWD) to be present in court on July 19 to explain the off-site mock safety drill conducted in the district last year, and the government’s proposal to build 10,000 pucca houses in the project area.
Advocate M Radhakrishnan, counsel for another petitioner, made it clear that they were not against the nuclear plant, but said that the environmental impact assessment clearance obtained in the year 2003 should not be used now, as the project had undergone several changes. “Let them approach the Union ministry of environment and forests for a fresh clearance,” he said.
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