Keywords: nuclear energy, public involvement, public engagement, nuclear power projects, Fukushima, nuclear power plants, NPP, environmental impact assessment, Kudankulam, Jaitapur, Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, RTI, information access, nuclear regulatory process, public participation, environmental law, mismanagement
Nuclear regulatory processes in India: a review of public engagement
Public involvement is imperative in the nuclear regulatory process in India, owing to the nature of concerns arising out of processes for harnessing nuclear energy, as also the recent wave of democratic activism submerging India, evidenced by the protests against nuclear power plants in Kudankulam and Jaitapur and anti–corruption movements. India's nuclear regulatory authority does not provide for meaningful public participation in regulatory processes; such is provided in environmental laws, which suffer from various drawbacks. A model of feasible democratic participation in Indian nuclear power generation processes, principled on the traceability of a regulatory authority's safety judgments by various stakeholders (including the public) is proposed. These include adopting more formalised methods of voting in hearings and voluntary disclosures of information, on the initiative of public authorities themselves, as a lesson learnt from the mismanagement of the power plant at Fukushima.