Nataliia Ivanenko, expert of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, has mentioned this during the first working group meeting on informing of the public on nuclear and radiation safety (NRS) in Ukraine.
The working group was established to develop professional recommendations on improving the system of public informing on nuclear and radiation safety.
Based on the information of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, current Ukrainian legislative framework related to public informing is at the appropriate level. However, the actual public informing system has considerable gaps. The main reason for this is the absence of the unanimity and interaction of all interested parties, first of all, of the public, local authorities and NPP representatives.
Within current legislation, NPP top management has created information and training centers based on NPPs and conducts training mainly for pupils and students. However, most of the problems cannot be solved only by NPP representatives without active involvement of local authorities and local community. First of all, this includes educational and outreach campaigns for junior and senior age groups and highlighting of preventive health care.
Hanna Holubovska-Onisimova, Head of Coordination Board of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, mentioned: “We propose to use EU experience and create local Information Boards in Ukraine in order to fill up the information gaps, to renew the unanimity and increase public awareness. From her words, France established such Information Boards more than ten years ago, their efficiency is time proved. Information on various nuclear and radiation safety issues comes to citizens in time and in sufficient amount.
Who shall form the local Information Boards in Ukraine?
- local authorities;
- local counselors;
- NPP top management;
- academic and educational circles;
- mass media
The Head of Coordination Board of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86” added the following: “Currently, our task is to test whether local Information Boards can work in Ukrainian reality or not”. The pilot project on creation of the Information Board shall be started in Enerhodar situated in Zaporizhzhya Oblast in the nearest future. ZNPP top management supported the idea of this project implementation and shall contribute to its development. Currently the citizens of NPP satellite city Enerhodar are polled on what kind of information on nuclear and radiation safety is lacking.
The same poll took place in Netishyn of Khmelnytsky Oblast and in Kuznetsovsk of Rivne Oblast. The poll results showed that the awareness of NPP satellite cities is not satisfactory.
The respondents in Netishyn named the following main reasons of unsatisfactory level of information:
- lack of information from NPP top management (70%);
- unsatisfactory information system (80%);
- lack of information from the state authorities (32%).
The respondents in Kuznetsovsk named the following main reasons of unsatisfactory level of information:
- lack of information from NPP top management (38,3%);
- unsatisfactory information system (94,8%);
- lack of information from the state authorities (53%).
From the words of Natalia Ivanenko, expert of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, Netishyn respondents were active and creative, they gave a lot of interesting ideas which can be considered during preparation of changes to legislation. On the contrary, Kuznetsovsk respondents were more reserved. More than 40% of the interviewees did not have personal opinion about the awareness of their children and about what shall be done in case of emergencies at NPPs.
The majority of the interviewees (82,4% in Netishyn, 85,4% in Kuznetsovsk) think that it would be reasonable to create local Information Boards to inform the public on nuclear and radiation safety issues.
Olha Kosharna, Director of Information and Public Relations of the Ukrainian Nuclear Forum Association, has joined the discussion. “I think that main task of the local Information Boards is to give the public the reliable data in the field of nuclear and radiation safety. It is hard not to agree with the fact that currently the main information source for the public is the mass media. Unfortunately, not all local mass media can professionally highlight the nuclear safety issues. The situation that recently occurred at KhNPP Unit 1 is a vivid example of such poor professionalism.
One of Verkhovna Rada deputies stated on his Facebook page that severe accident has happened at KhNPP. The majority of mass media picked up this information and actively spread it at their own web-resources for several weeks. The very few addressed the experts for professional comments. Under conditions of the information war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the promiscuity of Ukrainian mass media that start to spread the information without checking and clarifying the facts with the help of experts shocks”, said Olha Kosharna.
The working group supported Olha Kosharna. Serhii Kurykin, expert of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, proposed to organize a set of the workshops and trainings for mass media professional development in highlighting the nuclear and radiation safety issues. Hanna Holubovska-Onisimova, Head of Coordination Board of All-Ukrainian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization “MAMA-86”, underlined that the local Information Boards should include the representatives of transparent mass media with corresponding reputation only.
The working group leader, the working group deputy leader and the secretary were appointed at the end of the meeting. Taras Kozulko, Head of the Section on Communication with the Public and Assistant to SNRIU Chairperson, was appointed as working group deputy leader.
Uatom.org Editorial Board