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May 06, 2013 at 11:28am IST

SC approves commissioning of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has given a go ahead to the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The court has observed that the plant has been set up for the welfare and sustainable growth of the people.

The apex court verdict came on a plea seeking halt to the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant till the implementation of key additional safety measures suggested after an n-accident in Japan.

The petitioner, Chennai-based IT professional G Sunderrajan, wanted the government to implement 11 of the 17 additional safety measures recommended for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) by a task force set up by the government in the wake of Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

The court observed that nuclear power plants are needed in the country for the present and future generations. The court also said that the Kudankulam plant is safe and secure and it is necessary for larger public interest and economic growth of the country. It has given 15 guidelines on commissioning, safety and security and environmental issues concerning the plant.

The court has also asked the authorities to endeavour to withdraw criminal cases against those protesting the plant's commissioning.

The apex court bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra said the commissioning won't happen before a final report is filed on the safety aspect. The court wants the details of materials used and safety aspect of the nuclear plant before commissioning. The date of filing of the final report is yet to be fixed.

The Kudankulam reactor is scheduled to start functioning this month. Sources say that the reactor has been fully loaded and tests are presently underway. The reactor is expected to start functioning some time in May, but full production of 1,000 megawatts will take between six to eight months as the power generation will be in phases beginning with 50 megawatts which will then be gradually scaled up.

The apex court's decision comes close to the admission by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) about four faulty valves in the first reactor of the project and also after the arrests of Russian officials over alleged corruption in sourcing sub-standard materials for the KNPP, said M Pushparayan, one of the key figures in the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) spearheading the anti-KNPP stir. Sunderrajan had said in Chennai that he was not seeking the scrapping of the project.

(With additional information from PTI and IANS)

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