No decision to dump nuke waste in Karnataka mine
The central government has not taken any decision to dump the hazardous spent fuel from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu in the abandoned mines of Kolar in Karnataka, about 100 km from here, a minister said Friday.
Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises K.H. Muniyappa said in a statement in New Delhi: "There is no decision of the central government to dump nuclear spent fuel in the abandoned mines of the (state-run) Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML) near Kolar."
Muniyappa is a Congress Lok Sabha member from the Kolar reserved parliamentary constituency.
Refuting media reports that the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) had decided to dump the uranium waste in the mine shafts of the erstwhile Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Muniyappa said central ministers concerned would meet in New Delhi Nov 26 to resolve the issue as per the directive of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"I have sought the intervention of the prime minister to resolve the issue as the government had decided to revive BGML in 2006. He told me that he was concerned about the sentiments of the local people having the nuclear waste in their backyard," Muniyappa asserted.
The central government had recently filed an appeal in the Supreme Court to vacate the stay granted by the Karnataka High Court on implementing the cabinet decision of July 27, 2006 to revive the mines.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy, Minister for Mines Dinsha J. Patel, Minister for Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar and Muniyappa will hold a joint meeting Nov 26 to resolve the matter.
"As the government has decided to revive BGML, there is no question of dumping the nuclear waste in its mines. No need to agitate and fall prey to rumours," Muniyappa said, appealing to the local people to maintain peace even as Kolar town witnessed a shut down during the day in protest against the alleged NPCIL plan to dump the nuclear waste in the mines, endangering their safety.
In a related development, Karnataka deputy chief minister K.S. Eshwarappa asserted in Bangalore that the state government would not allow the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) to dump the nuclear waste from Kudankulam or from any atomic power station in BGML mines.
The controversy broke after the apex court Wednesday directed the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and NPCIL to file an affidavit on the steps being taken to implement the safety measures of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
NPCIL, however, denied it had stated in the affidavit that the spent fuel would be dumped in the abandoned mines of KGF.
Meanwhile, the Centre of India Trade Union (CITU) said it would file a counter-affidavit in the apex court to prevent NPCIL dumping the spent fuel at Kolar to protect the local people from the hazardous threat.