Bombay HC admits PIL on green nod to Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant
The Bombay High Court on March 19 admitted a petition challenging the environmental clearance procedure followed in issuing environmental clearance to the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) at Madban, Ratnagiri.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the Konkan Bachao Samiti (KBS) and Janhit Seva Samiti in 2013. The contention of the petitioners is over the procedure for granting environment clearance for atomic power plants that should also involve the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
“AERB is the only competent body to look at radiation-related issues of safety and environment protection. Since the main pollution hazard from an atomic power plant is radiation, AERB should follow the due process,” said Vivek Monteiro, KBS.
Project affected villagers have been opposing the plant, citing threat of radiation leaks and environmental damage to mango orchards as well as fishing.
Monteiro added, “AERB should prepare a comprehensive environment impact assessment (EIA) report including the nuclear pollution and safety aspects of the project and the technology, and should publish the same. They should also hold public hearings thereon and/or otherwise strictly comply with the conditions of the EIA Notification 2006 before considering the project for environmental clearance.”
The proposed 9,900 megawatt nuclear power plant comprising six European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) or light water reactors will be constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited on 600 hectares, while the remaining 238 hectares will house staff utilities. When fully functional, JNPP will be the largest nuclear power park in the world.
The petitioners also said that the environmental clearance has expired. “An alleged extension is claimed by a respondent to have been granted, which does not show anywhere on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, where extensions granted are listed date-wise. The petitioner has filed an application before the NGT, challenging the legality of the alleged extension,” read a press statement.
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