In a decision which could have wide environmental ramifications, the National Green Tribunal has asked the environment ministry to consider impact of nuclear radiation emanating from coal based power plants.
The NGT order was following a submission regarding public hearing for environment clearance for thermal plant in Maharashtra, where study on nuclear radiation from the plant was not conducted.
The occurrence of adioactive substances from the sites of Thermal Power Plants in India have been been reported widely. A recent study by National Geophysical Laboratory found high quantity of nuclear radiation in Chandraapur Thermal power plant in Maharashtra. However, the radiation was within permissible limits. The study, however, fails to answer is whether these substances have affected people living near or working in the plant.
During public hearing for another thermal plant in Maharashtra, the issue of nuclear radiation was raised which was not addressed during the public hearing. The villagers, thereafter, filed a petition with the tribunal seeking direction in this regards.
Justice C V Ramulu and expert member Ravinder Kumar Aggarwal asked the environment ministry to look radioactivity aspects of coal ash for thermal plants. "Radioactivity is a serious problem. Neither the Pollution Control Board nor the Ministry, appear to have, examined the matter properly," the tribunal bench said.
The tribunal has also asked the ministry to study the impact of radiaton on local population who live in close vicinit of the thermal plant. "We have been informed that there is large population residing within 2 to 3 KM from the project site," the bench said.
In light of these observations, the tribunal said it becomes necessary to examine the matter in detail. "The Pollution Control Board shall file detailed information in this regard also along with a sketch map, keeping the project site as centre point," the bench said.