Safety analysis and environmental impact assessment report of Nuclear Plant to be disclosed
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed to publish the reports relating to safety analysis, site evaluation report and environmental impact assessment report of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The CIC allowed the Nuclear Power Corporation of India to severe parts of the report which are exempt from disclosure under the provisions of section 8 (1) of the RTI Act after recording the reasons for the same.
The CIC observed that there should be a declaration on the website about the parts that have been severed, and the reasons for claiming exemptions as per the provisions of the RTI Act. The CIC was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. SP Udayakumar, who had sought the copies of Safety Analysis Report, Site Evaluation Report and Environment Impact Assessment report, for reactor I and II of the plant.
The CIC observed that the disclosure of the reports would provide a comprehensive perspective to the citizens about the holistic understanding of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant including the environment, health and safety concerns and would enable citizens to voice their opinions. This would facilitate an informed discussion between citizens based on a report prepared with their/public money. It was argued by the Nuclear Power Corporation that the information related to security, strategic and scientific interests of the State and the disclosure was exempt under section 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; of the RTI Act. Further, exemption under section 8 (1)(d) was also claimed as disclosure could comprise commercial confidence.
Such a disclosure would serve larger public interest and such reports are already in the public domain in countries like USA, UK and Canada where they help in igniting public debate. When disclosure of such reports is a norm world-wide, there is no reason why Indians should be treated differently by the government.