Indian Environmental Watchdog Declines to Halt Expansion of Russia-Built NPP

© Flickr / IAEA ImagebankKudankulam nuclear power plant, India.
Kudankulam nuclear power plant, India. - Sputnik International
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India’s environmental watchdog has quashed a petition against the expansion of Russia-built Kudankulam nuclear power plant, first commissioned under an inter-governmental agreement between the erstwhile Soviet Union and India in 1988.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India’s National Green Tribunal has refused to entertain a petition seeking to block the expansion of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

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The Russia-assisted complex has stolen a march over its US and French rivals with the commissioning of two nuclear power plants. The petition wanted to prevent its expansion to six units. In contrast, American and French plans for nuclear power complexes are yet to get off the ground.

The petition, filed by G Sundar Rajan, trustee of an NGO Friends of the Earth, had challenged the Environment Ministry’s Coastal Regulations Zone (CRZ) clearance for a further four nuclear plant arguing that an incompetent body had performed the environmental impact study.

However, the environmental watchdog refused to hear the petition because the Supreme Court had already considered the matter. In 2013, the Supreme Court, while recording the Environmental Clearance (EC) and CRZ clearances given to the project, had approved the first two units of the nuclear power plant.

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The counsel for the petitioner said that they will now file an appeal before the Supreme Court.

The National Green Tribunal is a statutory body set up under an act of Indian Parliament for speedily & effectively hearing cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

Units 1 and 2 of the Kundankulum nuclear power plant have already attained criticality. These are operated by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) under IAEA safeguards, with supervision from Russian specialists. Enriched uranium fuel for the entire life of the plant is to be supplied by Russia. Work on units 3-6 are in various stages completion.

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