International conference on transparency, nuclear, experience.

Our colleague, Zsuzsanna Koritár’s account of the conference in Luxembourg on ‘The practical implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the nuclear field’.
The conference from 24 to 25 June, 2009 was initiated by an international initiative, and studied how the Aarhus Convention had been implemented in practice, one decade on. The Aarhus Convention covers ‘Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters’and was created in 1998 by the EU.  In Hungary it entered into force in 2001.   The conference of about one hundred participants was attended by actors interested in the field of nuclear energy from 13 different countries. Representatives of industry, authorities, social and environmental organisations, state institutions and legal organisations were present and participants also attended from the Convention Secretariat of the EU, and other directorates of the European Commission (DG TREN, DG ENV, DG JRC, DG RTD). Apart from the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations, EMLA (Environmental Management and Law Association) and the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, Energiaklub was also invited to attend as the most significant NGO working in the nuclear field.   The most important objective of the conference was to study the transparency of nuclear energetics through presentations and coordinating forums and to gather experience from EU member states having nuclear power facilities, as well as exploring short-comings and problems. Looking for possible solutions in order to increase transparency and democracy was also one of the conference’s goals.   As an Energiaklub project manager I shared our Hungarian experience during the forums. I introduced amongst other things those court cases concerning the refusal to supply data related to nuclear issues; in other words, about the lack of access to environmental information. The follow-up to the event in 2010 will constitute of ‘national roundtable-discussions’, in which most of the stakeholders in countries with nuclear energy  - Energiaklub too - will work together to increase the transparency of the nuclear industry.                                                                                                                             July 2, 2009