Indian Information Commission Orders Disclosure of Site Evaluation and Safety Analysis Reports of Nuclear Power Plans in Kudankulam
The Central Information Commission in India has recently ordered the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) to disclose the Site Evaluation and Safety Analysis Reports (minus proprietary information relating to design) relating to the twin nuclear power plants that are situated at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu. A copy of the decision is attached.
News reports of this decision are available at:
In 2010 Dr. S P Udayakumar sought three reports from NPCIL related to the two nuclear power plants being built in collaboration with Russia. While NPCIL provided the environmental impact assessment report it refused disclosure of the site evaluation report and safety analysis report on grounds of national security, strategic and scientific interests[(under Section 8(1)(a) of the Indian Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act)] and commercial confidence and intellectual property claims [under Section 8(1)(d)]. The appellate authority within NPCIL upheld the decision of refusal. So the matter was taken to the Central Information Commission. The Commission decided in favour of disclosure of both reports after permitting severance of proprietary information relating to design which may be contained in the safety evaluation report. Further, the Commission directed NPCIL to place the reports on its website and also make it a practice to disclose such reports on its websites in future.
CHRI assisted the appellant in this matter before the Commission as he is in faraway Tamil Nadu amidst thousands of villagers protesting against the construction of power plants and the State agencies who are aiming to complete the construction and installation process soonest. According to recent media reports the fuel assembly may be loaded in one of the two reactors occur end of May or early June: (http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article3354761.ece)
The main appeal, supplementary arguments and supporting documents submitted to the Commission are attached for your reference. I have also attached a compilation (last attachment) of the criminal cases filed by the Tamil Nadu Police against thousands of villagers who are protesting against the power plants. Many of them have been accused of sedition and waging war against the State.
We do not expect disclosure of even an iota of information to be released despite the Commission’s orders, as NPCIL may challenge this decision before a High Court. It is likely to be a long battle. We would be grateful for any supportive arguments and examples of best practice regarding disclosure of such information that you can provide us for this case.
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