KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday appointed former attorney general of Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan as amicus curiae to assist court in a case pertaining to the establishment of two nuclear power plants in Karachi.
Headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar, a division bench extended till December 5 its injunction, barring Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) from carrying out work on two nuclear power plants in Karachi.
The court had taken up a petition filed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Dr Pervaiz Amirali Hoodbhoy and others, who had approached the court challenging Sepa’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report that accorded its approval to establishment of two nuclear power plants in Karachi.
The counsel for the petitioners had submitted that the twin nuclear reactors will be based on a design known as the ACP-1000. He said these types of reactors are not even operating in China as they only exist on the paper and in computer. This type of rectors will be used for the first time in Karachi.
He said that the safety precautions, which are required to be adopted by authorities, are still unclear and uncertain, posing serious threat to health and life of the people of the city.
Counsel submitted that PAEC had approached the Sepa for its approval on the project. Subsequently it issued environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the project while approving it. He argued that EIA report was issued without complying with provisions of related environment laws as no public hearing was held regarding suitability of the site for the nuclear plants in Karachi.
In response to the court notice, PAEC’s secretary denied that PAEC had failed to offer and make public credible plan for emergency evacuation of the citizens in case of any nuclear accident, stating that setting up an emergency plan and carrying out emergency drills is mandatory requirement set forth by PNRA and the PAEC had fulfilled the requirement. He said extensive studies have been carried out for establishing power plants on the proposed site to ensure that the plant would survive the largest earthquake and tsunami.
He said PAEC was exempted from having public hearing regarding suitability of the site for the nuclear plants in Karachi under section 12(3) of the EPA 1997.
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