The Aarhus Convention in the Nuclear Sector

The Aarhus Convention was created in 1998 to grant the public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

Experience shows that the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the nuclear sector is especially difficult. As the reason for not disclosing information, business confidentiality is stated most frequently.

Experiences of the Joint Project NGOs with the Aarhus Convention of the Joint Project NGOs

Within the Joint Project 2010/2011 a brochure about the Aarhus Convention in the Nuclear Sector was made. After an introduction on Aarhus the experiences the Joint Project Group made when applying the rights the Aarhus Convention provides in the nuclear sector:

Aarhus brochure JP (pdf, 423 KB)

The experience of the JP Group on Aarhus in the Nuclear Sector can also be found in the following sub-sections.

Cases cover
  • requests on environmental information in the nuclear sector,
  • experience made on public participation,
  • reactions of the competent ministries/companies to these requests
  • and success of these actions
  • Actions are described when the right to access to information/public participation was not granted including going to court
Theses examples serve
  • to share experience about Aarhus in the nuclear field with others
  • to give examples on how to use the Aarhus Convention in the nuclear sector
  • to unmask bad practice in context with Aarhus and nuclear of companies and authorities
  • to show good practice examples of companies/ministries in context with Aarhus and nuclear

The rights of the Aarhus Convention: Three pillars

The rights provided by the Aarhus Convention consist of three pillars of the Convention:

Pillar 1: Access to information

The purpose of this pillar is to make environmental information available to the public, to raise awareness, protect and improve the environment for the benefit of the present and future generations.

Pillar 2: Public participation

Public participation in decision-making enhances the quality and the implementation of decisions, contributes to public awareness of environmental issues, gives the public the opportunity to express its concerns and enables public authorities to take due account of such concerns.
There are three types of public participation according to the Convention:
(1) in decisions on specific activities (such as projects which are subject to an environmental impact assessment EIA)
(2) concerning plans, programmes and policies relating to the environment, and
(3) during the preparation of executive regulations and/or generally applicable legally binding normative instruments

Pillar 3: Access to justice

The Aarhus Convention ensures that any person whose request for information has been ignored, wrongfully refused or inadequately answered has access to a review procedure before a court of law or another independent body established by law.

Joint Project Strategic Workshop 2009 - Aarhus

On the 26th and 27th November 2009 the Joint Project Strategic Workshop took place at the Austrian Institute of Ecology, Vienna.
The workshop had a strong focus on what rights NGOs get by the Aarhus Convention and how to use these rights on everyday's NGO work.

Several lecturers attended the meeting: Thomas Alge, Andriy Andrusevych and Peter Mihok.
Thomas Alge is a lawyer and is working for Ökobüro since 2002. His main focus is on environmental law and participation.
Andriy Andrusevych is member of the organisation Resource & Analysis Center "Society and Environment", Ukraine.

Download presentation Andriy Andrusevych: Presentation Andrusevych (pdf, 400 kb)

Download presentation Thomas Alge: Presentation Thomas Alge (pdf, 57 kb)

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