The Supreme Court on Monday cleared hurdles in commissioning of the controversial Kudankulam nuclear plant, saying that the safety and security requirements have been taken care of and the project would benefit larger public interest.
The apex court said the apprehensions about public safety and environmental concerns have been allayed in view of the unanimous expert opinion.
A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said the Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu is safe and secure and it is necessary for larger public interest and economic growth of the country.
Nuclear power plants are needed in the country for the present and the future generations and for providing cheaper energy, the court said.
However, the bench clarified that commissioning of the plant would fructify only after requisite clearance from the authorities concerned.
It also laid down 15 guidelines on commissioning, safety and security and environmental issues concerning the plant. The project is for welfare and the concept of larger public interest must weigh over the minor public inconveniences, it said.
Minor inconveniences and problems should not be allowed to hamper the long-term benefits of nuclear power plants and moreover, the authorities are concerned with the safety and security measures which is clear from the fact that 12 out of 17 such measures are already in place, the bench said.
The Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, which operates the plant, and other regulatory bodies would make periodic monitoring of the plant, the court said.
While clearing the project, the bench said there should be a balance between public interest and sustainable development. Anti-nuclear activists have held agitations demanding scrapping of the project and many criminal cases have been registered against the protesters. The bench asked the authorities to endeavour to withdraw criminal cases against those protesting the plant's commissioning
It said it was a genuine public interest litigation which the court is disposing of after detailed deliberation on each and every aspect.