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'Kudankulam project doesn't meet pollution control board's norms'

Shine Jacob  |  New Delhi 

Environmental activists on Tuesday alleged the Kudankulam nuclear power project has got the clearance from the state pollution control board, despite the plant not meeting the board's criteria on outfall of sea water and green belt.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), in its report, had asked the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) to increase the green belt by 25 per cent.

"At present, they (KNPP) only have 6 per cent of green belt. Moreover, the outfall of hot water should be discharged at least 1.5-2 km away from the seashore through a pipeline, which is not there. In this case, the entire seashore would get hot because of the treated sea water," said Chennai-based environmental activist G Sundararajan, who has filed a petition against the clearance by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for the project. The case is likely to be taken up before the Madras High Court on Wednesday.

M Pushpanarayan of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is in the forefront of the agitations, too, echoed Sundararajan's allegations.

The first unit of 2x1000 mega watt Kudankulam plant achieved criticality (started operations) last week and is expected to start power production in a couple of weeks.

In its report, TNPCB also asked for computerisation of the temperature record system at the final outlet of condenser cooling and get it connected to CARE AIR Centre in Chennai. Among its suggestions, it also asked for a separate water meter for industrial cooling purpose.

When contacted, Jayakumar T C Ethiraju, joint chief environmental engineer of TNPCB, said: "We are only looking into air and water quality aspects related to the project. As of now, the project has complied with all the facilities as per our criteria. They have an effluent treatment plant and also a storage waste water handling facility in place."

Regarding the First Approach to Criticality (FAC) of Unit-1 of the project, AERB chairman S S Bajaj told Business Standard that the plant meets all the criteria required as of now in the environmental and safety side.

First Published: Wed, July 17 2013. 00:18 IST