Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Supreme Court extends deadline to set up waste tank

The Supreme Court on Monday extended, till 2022, the time for creating away-from-reactor (AFR) facilities to store the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s spent fuel, currently kept within the plant.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s decision came as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that AFR facilities will be created in the extended time being sought by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

The earlier deadline came to an end on May 31.

The court was earlier told that the process to complete the AFR facility was going on and the spent nuclear fuel at present is stored in the Tamil Nadu plant’s spent fuel storage bay, designed to survive earthquakes as per the specific site.

The court asked counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for original petitioner G. Sunderrajan, to move a separate plea as he said that the extension of time should not mean that the NCPIL have unrestricted nod for operating the plant and creating more spent fuel.

The apex court, by its 2013 judgment, gave the nod to operationalise the first unit of the plant with a direction to the government and NPCIL to submit a report on the compliance of all safety steps before the plant is commissioned.

It asked the government and the NPCIL to find suitably safe areas to dispose the nuclear waste and also issued guidelines on commissioning, safety and security and environmental issues concerning the nuclear plant.