During the week, 16 experts from Western and Eastern European countries worked to improve communication strategies of national regulatory authorities in order to raise public awareness of nuclear and radiation safety issues.
Thus, the participants exchanged experience, received a number of recommendations, knowledge and skills that would help increasing nuclear safety and establishing an effective dialogue between the regulator, the public and other stakeholders.
“This workshop gave the participants an opportunity to exchange their experience in communication area. The knowledge obtained will help to improve communication between nuclear regulators and the public in order to enhance safety and meet IAEA safety standards”, moderator of the event and IAEA technical expert Jean-René Jubin said.
During the training, the participants identified the main methods and tools to inform the public. They include written (reports, news, instructions, press releases), verbal (meetings, briefings, workshops, conferences, interviews, etc.), visual (video, infographics, advertising). Communication through social networks was referred to non-verbal methods.
As a separate, specific method of informing the public, experts have identified the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), which is a tool for prompt informing the public on safety significance of events occurring at nuclear installations and facilities. According to INES, events are classified by 7 levels. Events belonging to the lower levels (1 – 3) are called “incidents”; those belonging to the upper levels (4 – 7) are called “accidents”. Events with no safety significance are classified level 0/below scale and called “deviations”. Events not related to safety are not included in the scale and considered out of scale.
During the workshop, a special attention was paid to the preparation and conduct of public hearings. “Good training is a key task for successful public hearings, Gabor Kormendi, expert of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) explains. “All hearings differ from each regarding discussion subject and situation in which they are conducted. This means social and political contexts, relevance of the issue, number of participants and stakeholders. Depending on all these factors, you have to develop a detailed plan of steps and actions, identify responsible persons, timeframes, etc.”
The participants have also agreed that an important aspect of efficient communication is the development of detailed communication plans for short periods that will include a plan for all activities. “Your communication plan should be as detailed and clear as possible in order to develop relationships with your audience and raise public awareness”, speaker Mr. Igor Jencic from the Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia) comments.
For Ukraine, which is in a state of hybrid warfare, one of whose areas is the information space this event is extremely relevant and practical. The efforts, recommendations, practical skills gained by the representatives of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine and SSTC NRS will be used to improve the dialogue with the public, its more efficient involvement in making decisions that may affect the environment.
SSTC NRS press-service