Keywords: public participation, nuclear regulatory process, India, stakeholder involvement, nuclear education, public hearings, safety standards, nuclear law, nuclear energy, nuclear power plants, NPP, public awareness, decision making
Public awareness and stakeholder engagement in India's nuclear energy regulatory process
The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has shown that the generation of nuclear energy involves an inherent risk of failure irrespective of undertaken precautions and safety measures. Therefore, members of the public - the principal stakeholders - shall be provided with significant opportunities for their engagement in the nuclear regulatory process. In general, openness for public participation not only strengthens the legitimacy of regulatory decisions, but it also establishes trust and understanding in reference to policy–makers' activities. This paper analyses public involvement system in the nuclear regulatory process in India. In reference to the best international practices settled by the IAEA and national authorities like the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the author recommends certain solutions for the improvement of the public participation mechanism regarding the Indian nuclear decision–making process.