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However, the agreement was inactive until the year 2001, due to the political changes in Soviet Russia and the objections raised by the United States of America.
“Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant”/KKNPP at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district started the construction work in March 2002.
After more than 10 years, the first unit of the nuclear energy plant was ready for commissioning in June 2012.
The KKNPP project had been opposed by many ‘anti-nuclear’ protestors, such as,the ‘People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy and ‘Poovulagin Nanbargal’/’Friends of Earth’ and the local people of Kudankulam.
One of the trustees of the “Poovulagin Nanbargal”-G.Sunder Rajan filed Public Interest Litigation/PIL petition to the Madras High Court on 19th Ocober 2011, against:
- Union of India, represented by the Secretary to Govt. of India, Department of Atomic Energy,
- Union of India, represented by the Secretary to Govt. of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests and
- The Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
- Around 30 Kms within the Kudankulam from various villages bus facilities should be provided for the people to reach Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Madurai with four-way roads.
- Employment opportunity must be provided for 10,000 people by creating industries beyond 30 Kms up to 60 Kms of Kudankulam and youngsters should be provided with bank loan facilities to start self-employment with 25% concession
- On the beach area of Kudankulam, green houses; multistoried buildings; community halls; play grounds with all infrastructure facilities must be provided, apart from providing generator bodies, jetties, cold storage facilities for preserving fish for the benefit of fishermen of the area
- One Million Litre of potable water must be prepared from sea water every day and pure potable water must be given for drinking purposes to the people living in the area
- To enable the agriculturists in the area to irrigate their lands and also for the purpose of drinking water steps must be taken to draw water from Pechiparai dam
- A multi-specialty hospital with all infrastructure facilities of world class standards with 500 bed facilities must be constructed and ll villages must be connected with two mobile medical diagnostic facilities;
- Five schools in CBSE as well as the Tamil Nadu Education System along with hostel facilities must be established to provide quality education to the children of the area
- Broadband internet facilities must be provided in all villages
- The security protection station must be established, in which training must be given in respect of safety measures. Groups must be created for establishing relationship between the atomic reactor and people and to develop social awareness and economic development, apart from providing the methods to be followed during emergency situations and
- In each of the villages, the youngsters must be given training to go for higher studies in order to provide them permanent employment opportunities.
On 31st August 2012, the Madras High Court closed the PIL petition of the “Poovulagin Nanbargal” along with various petitions related to the same matter of commissioning of the “Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant” project.
The petitioners of the PIL’s appealed in the Supreme Court of India, against the order of the Madras High Court.
The Supreme Court of India, on 6th May 2013, disposed of a bunch of appeals in PIL petitions , rejected by the Madras High Court, pleading to stop the commissioning of the “Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant” project.
The Supreme Court of India has allowed the “Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant” project to commission with directions to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India/NPCIL and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board/AERB to take all the steps for ensuring the safety of the plant and a direction to the Union Government of India to submit a report of compliance of all safety steps taken before the plant is commissioned.
The Supreme Court has directed that endeavour should be made to withdraw all the criminal cases filed against the anti-KNPP-agitators, so that peace and normalcy be restored at Kudankulam and nearby places, and steps should be taken to educate the people of the necessity of the plant which is in the largest interest of the nation particularly the State of Tamil Nadu.
According to the Supreme Court of India:
- Nuclear energy is extremely important for the country’s growth and a balance has to be struck between the right to life and sustainable development
- Various expert groups have opined that there would be no impact on the life around the plant because of radiation
- The larger public interest should prevail over the minor inconveniences that may be caused to the people
- There is no basis to the fear that the radioactive effects of the ‘Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’, when commissioned, will be far reaching
- The apprehensions of the petitioners, that it might repeat accidents like the one that had happened at ‘Three Mile Island’, ‘Chernobyl’, ‘Union Carbide’ and ‘Fukushima’ and so on. Apprehensions, however, legitimate they might be, cannot override the justification of the project. Nobody on this earth can predict what would happen in future and to a larger extent we have to leave it to the destiny. But once the justification test is satisfied, the apprehension test is bound to fail.”
- A report of the International Atomic Energy Agency/IAEA has highlighted that to sustain rapid global economic growth, it is necessary to double the supply of energy and tripling supply of electricity by the year 2050 and billions of poor people need energy and other life-saving and job-creating technologies.