New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court was Thursday told that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu was absolutely safe and fully equipped to deal even with Fukushima type of accident.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) told the apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra that KNPP was "absolutely safe" even without the 17 recommendations by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which were being put in place out of abundant caution.
The recommendations were made by an expert committee set up in the wake of leakage of radioactive materials from a damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima in Japan after a tsunami in March 2011.
"It is submitted that even if a Fukushima type of incident were to occur, the KNPP is fully equipped with all safety measures to withstand any such unlikely event," the NPCIL said in its affidavit.
The affidavit was filed by Ashok Chauhan, the company's executive director (Fuel Cycle Management & Safeguards).
The NPCIL said its assertion of absolute safety of KNPP would not come in the way of the implementation of the AERB's recommendations.
The court was told that seven of the recommendations had already been implemented and remaining 10 would be put in place within the time frame allowed by the AERB.
Addressing apprehensions about KNPP being the target of terror strike, the NPCIL said the structural design of the facilities at the nuclear power plants ensured that in the event of a physical attack, the structure would prevent the release of any radioactivity into public domain.
In the case of nuclear reactors, the affidavit said, even in the remote likelihood of these being breached, it would automatically result into the safe automatic shutdown of the reactor by itself.
Pointing to the rarity of such incidents at nuclear power plants, the NPCIL said that there had been only three major nuclear plants accidents that includes 1979 Three Mile Island accident, 1985 Chernobyl disaster and 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The NPCIL said that "despite these accidents, the safety records of nuclear power plants, in terms of lives lost per unit of electricity delivered, is better than every other major source of power in the world."
During the course of the hearing, the court said the safety of the Kudankulam plant and storage of nuclear waste was of prime concern.
The court said that from the first day, they were saying that safety was the most important issue and people's lives should be protected.
After counsel Prashant Bhushan said the government's main concern was that so much money had been spent on the project, the court observed that it was not the issue, and if it was not satisfied with safety then "we can stop it".