Journal of Risk Research DOI:10.1080/13669877.2014.913665
M P Ram Mohan and Akshay Shandilya
Judicial intervention on nuclear energy safety discourse in India is very recent. The debate on the Civil Nuclear Liability for Damage Act 2010 in the Parliament and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan provoked public apprehension about nuclear safety in India. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in South India became the flash point. The localized agitation against the project consequently gained momentum and was taken up aggressively by civil society groups citing safety compromise on various technical parameters. Though the government constituted expert committees to assuage any misgivings, the matter, however, was challenged before the Madras High Court and as appeal before the Supreme Court of India. The former assured safety and legality of the project and the latter endorsed this view, with supplemental directions, determining the superiority of expert committees who unequivocally concluded that the project was safe. The Courts similarly converged on the issue that the project was of national importance. On the access to project information, though the Central Information Commission ordered to make public the KNPP site and safety evaluation reports, however, Nuclear Power Corporation appealed to the Delhi High Court arguing the information was proprietary and obtained a stay order.
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