Nuclear Energy Agency Online Bulletin

January 2001

Nuclear Safety

Investing in Trust: Nuclear Regulators and the Public

Good governance and efficient decision making by governmental authorities are increasingly dependent upon mutual trust and confidence between those authorities and the public. A workshop held in Paris on 29 November-1 December provided an opportunity to exchange information and views on how national nuclear regulatory organisations can improve their interface with the public in a spirit of greater trust, confidence and accountability. This workshop was part of an on-going broader effort by the NEA to look into public communication issues and involving the public in decision making in the nuclear field. The workshop was attended by some 80 participants having responsibilities within nuclear regulatory bodies, either as senior officials, communications or public relations specialists, or as technical specialists with communications responsibilities. The meeting confirmed that the term "the public" covers a variety of potentially interested parties, including the lay public, professional bodies, the media, pressure groups and elected representatives. The workshop did not limit itself to communication activities with the public (either as an interactive process or as a one-way information effort), but also took in aspects of public participation in regulatory decision making such as hearings and local information boards. Major topics explored at this meeting included:

A final panel session explored next steps that could be taken as a follow-up to the workshop. In addition, the results of this workshop are intended to serve as a basis for further in-depth activities of the NEA in the area of improving public trust in national nuclear regulatory organisations. The proceedings of the workshop will be published early in 2001.

Related links:

NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) Programme of Work

Stakeholder Confidence and Radioactive Waste Disposal: Workshop Proceedings 28-31 August 2000 (pdf, 692 kb)