New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that issues pertaining to health and environment are as important as safety of the Kudankulam atomic power plant and asked the government how the nuclear waste will be handled once it becomes operational. A bench of justices KS Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra asked the Centre and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCL), which operates the plant, to provide information how they intend to transport the nuclear waste out of the plant and store it in a safe place without causing damage to environment.
"Where would it (nuclear waste) go and what impact it would have on environment and people's health if it is transported to other place," the bench said, adding, "How much and how long such waste can be stored?" It said that issues pertaining to health and environment are as important as safety of the plant and asked the government and the NPCL to give a reply on safety measures to be taken by them while transporting and storing nuclear waste. Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, appearing for the Corporation, replied that he would file an affidavit in which all the queries would be answered.
Meanwhile, the Corporation submitted that the plant is completely safe and can withstand any kind of natural disaster and terrorist attack. "The design includes provisions for withstanding external events like earthquake, tsunami/storm, tidal waves, cyclones, shock waves, aircraft impact on main buildings and fire," Nariman said. "As regards to the vulnerability of the KKNPP to the terrorists attacks, sabotage, etc, it has elaborate physical security arrangements in place and it can even withstand plane crash," he said.