With the people of Kolar in Karnataka vehemently protesting the government's alleged plans to dump nuclear waste in the abandoned gold mine of the district, the Centre on Tuesday clarified before the Supreme Court that it has no such intentions.
In a supplementary affidavit, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd has told the court that nothing was stated in an earlier affidavit, which suggested that NPCIL has identified Kolar Gold Mine for storing nuclear waste.
"Considering the sensitivity of the subject and intense public interest in the matter, NPCIL is filing the present supplementary affidavit to clarify the matter as follows.
Nothing stated in Para 26 of the affidavit or otherwise should be read to suggest that NPCIL has identified Kolar Gold Mine of BGML located in south India as one of the sites for storage of nuclear waste," the affidavit said.
The Corporation said the content of its earlier affidavit was misinterpreted by a section of the media.
The Corporation, in its affidavit dated November 7, had said it has developed an underground chamber in Kolar gold mines for underground research laboratory.
"Keeping in line with the international developments, initial focus of work in the eighties mainly centred on setting up of generic underground research laboratory in one of the abandoned mines in India and resulted in the development of an underground chamber in Kolar gold mines," the affidavit had said, without naming the site where the nuclear waste is to be dumped.
The affidavit was filed in compliance of the apex court's order -- directing the Centre to explain as to how it would dispose the nuclear waste of the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant. The apex court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by anti-nuclear activists challenging commissioning of the plant on the ground that all the safety measures have not been put in place.
The Corporation had said deep geological repository for keeping nuclear waste is not needed now and it will be required only after a few decades.
A DGR is a nuclear waste repository excavated below 300 meters within a stable geologic environment. It entails a combination of waste form, waste package, engineered seals and geology that is suited to provide a high level of long-term isolation and containment without future maintenance.