02 July 2007

On July 2, 2007, a Five-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) upheld a previous court decision which had repealed the refusal of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency to provide information about the March 1, 2006 incident in the Nuclear Power Plant “Kozlodui.”

 

The Bulgarian public learned about the incident from publications in German newspapers. According to the then Minister of Economics and Energy, Mr. Rumen Ovcharov, the incident was of a first degree and its announcement was not obligatory. An ad hoc commission, however, found that the incident was of a second degree and its announcement had been obligatory. In May 2006, the National Movement Ekoglasnost requested access to information about the measures taken with regard to the incident. The Nuclear Regulatory Agency provided the reports regarding the incident, but refused the annexes on the ground that the third party dissented the provision of information, the nuclear power plant being the third part. In February 2007, a Three-member panel of the SAC repealed the refusal, emphasizing that the dissent of the third party was not by itself a ground for refusal. The rights and interests of the third party should be indeed harmed or threatened, which was not the situation in the current case. The representative of the Nuclear Power Plan presented parts of a contract with a Russian company for design, development and putting into exploitation a control rods system, which stopped functioning on March 1, 2006. According to the contract, everything related to its implementation, was confidential.

 

With its decision, the Five-member panel repealed the arguments of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency and the Power Plant and upheld that the request for the consent of the third party did not give grounds for the refusal of information, which was public by nature. The court proceedings were supported by AIP.