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Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project

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The Bombay High Court, on 19 March 2018, admitted the petition PIL No 238 of 2013—filed by Vivek Monteiro and Mangesh Chavan of the Konkan Bachao Samiti, and Mansoor Solkar and Alimiya Mhaskar of the Janhit Seva Samiti—challenging the clearance procedure adopted for giving clearance to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project. The respondents are the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and the Union of India, through the Department of Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The AERB is considering the nuclear-related issues, including radiation pollution, but claims that it is not required to follow the requirements of the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification. The EIA notification requirements are safeguards for the public and environment. The procedure stipulated therein brings in transparency.

The petitioners had also alleged that since siting permission has not been given, the land for the project could not have been acquired. Further, the technology of the project has not been tested, so the AERB could not possibly consider using it.

The environmental clearance has expired, but an alleged extension—which does not appear anywhere on the website of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, where extensions granted are listed date-wise—is claimed by a respondent to have been granted. The petitioners have filed an application before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), challenging the legality of the alleged extension.

The petitioners have requested an order directing the respondents to prepare and publish a comprehensive EIA report, including the nuclear pollution and safety aspects of the project and the technology to be used, and to hold public hearings thereon and/or to otherwise strictly comply with the conditions of the EIA Notification 2006 before considering the project for environmental clearance.

Further, Areva—the company that had developed European pressurised reactor (EPR) technology—is an insolvent company undergoing restructuring. Also, their technology has design flaws which Areva itself has admitted. It is not known whether these have been corrected. A Finnish nuclear power plant using EPR technology is also reportedly facing numerous problems. A week ago, the Areva-led consortium building the Finnish plant was required to pay a penalty of €450 million (₹3,600 crore) for cost overruns and delays.

Vivek Monteiro, Adwait Pednekar

Konkan Bachao Samiti

Updated On : 23rd Mar, 2018

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