Improving public trust in nuclear regulators

Good governance and efficiency in decision making by governmental authorities are increasingly dependent upon mutual trust and confidence between those authorities and the public. A workshop organised in Paris by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) from 29 November to 1 December provided an opportunity for an exchange of 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 focus on communicating with the public and involving the public in decision making in the nuclear field.

Entitled "Investing in Trust: Nuclear Regulators and the Public", the workshop, which was organised by the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA), was attended by some 80 participants having responsibilities within nuclear regulatory bodies, either as top officials, communications or public relations specialists, or technical specialists with communications responsibilities.

The meeting confirmed that the term "the public" covers a variety of potentially interested parties such as the lay public, professional bodies, the media, pressure groups and elected representatives. The word "interface" was viewed as encompassing not only communication activities with the public, either as an interactive process or as a one-way information effort, but also aspects of public participation in regulatory decision making such as in 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 next year.

News media contacts:

Ms. Cynthia Gannon-Picot 
Head, External Relations and Public Affairs
OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
Tel.: +33 (1) 45 24 10 10
Fax: +33 (1) 45 24 11 10
E-mail: 
Website: www.oecd-nea.org

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