Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC)
Programme of work
The current task of the group for 2011-2013 are the development of guidelines on best practices for the communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisation (NRO), based on the experience of Member countries, on the following topics:
- Crisis Communication, in order to advise NRO on communication about an event of low safety significance but of high media impact ant to expand the guidance developed about “abnormal situations” to emergency situations.
- NRO use of Internet and of new Information Technologies (e.g. Social Media) for interacting with the general public
- NRO communication plans & routine communication (for better structuring NRO public communication along with main NRO challenges and main “target groups”)
The main task of the group for 2009-2010 was the development of guidelines on best practices for the communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisation (NRO), based on the experience of Member countries, on the following topics:
- Transparency, including advising on the balance between openness and necessary confidentiality restrictions, in order to promote public confidence and consistency of practice across Regulators;
- Information of local public, in order to develop relationship between NRO and the local public about the status of nuclear and radiation safety;
- Surveying public perception, in order to more accurately take account of public attitudes in the regulatory processes;
The group has published in 2008 a report on the outcome of the three workshops it has held to date and the resulting changes in communication practices in NEA member countries (Achievements and Challenges in Nuclear Regulatory Communication with the Public).
The main task of the group in 2007 was the organisation of workshop on the "Transparency of regulatory activities", held in Japan on 22-24 May 2007. The purpose of the workshop was to:
- share practices in communicating to the public about regulatory activities and how to increase transparency about regulatory activities;
- share experiences of how practices of increased transparency have impacted upon the regulator.
The main task of the group in 2005-2006 was the development of two WGPC Reports aimed at gathering in a short document current regulatory body practices regarding communication to the public in two areas:
- communication in an abnormal situation;
- publicity given to regulatory decisions.
The main task of the group in 2003-2004 was the preparation of the workshop "Building, Measuring and Improving Public Confidence in the Nuclear Regulator" held in May 2004. The purposes of the workshop were to:
- share practices in the planning and implementing of public confidence building activities by nuclear regulatory organisations;
- share practices in measuring and evaluating public confidence in the nuclear regulator;
- share experiences in how the results of measuring public confidence affect the regulator.
Topics identified at that time for future work included:
- how to measure the success of a public communication programme;
- what are the indicators for trust? How to measure public confidence;
- the language of safety in communicating with the public;
- the development of public-oriented safety indicators;
- how much is enough, how much is too much public interaction;
- how to encourage responsible media reporting of regulatory actions;
- how to react to incorrect, incomplete or biased information;
- experiences in interacting with local communities;
- risk and crisis communication;
- the value of the International Nuclear Event Rating Scale (INES) in communicating with journalists;
- how to help the public differentiate between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons;
- how to increase communication between communicators and technical experts.
Previous WGPC discussions and information exchanges have addressed the following topics:
- how nuclear regulatory organisations handled public questions following the 11 September 2001 events in the US ;
- how to deal with questions from the public concerning terrorist attacks on nuclear installations; the public impact in the US and other countries of the Davis-Besse reactor vessel head corrosion;
- the public impact in Sweden of the discovery in the US of a radiation-leaking source shipped from Sweden via France ;
- the public impact from cover-ups of inspection findings by several Japanese utilities;
- how to communicate to the public information related to radiological releases of nuclear installations and the experience gained with the organisation of public meetings;
- the European Commission statement on harmonising nuclear safety standards in the European Union; public communication in relation to the Paks-2 incident;
- the public impact of the measures taken during the summer of 2003 in relation to Barsebäck-2;
- the public impact of measures taken by nuclear regulators to deal with the July-August 2003 heatwave in Europe;
- the public impact of the major power systems outage that affected Canada and the US in August 2003 and its possible consequences on nuclear power plant safety;
- the public impact of the April 2003 HSK report on aircraft attacks on nuclear power plants;
- lessons learnt from the May 2003 Swiss vote in favour of nuclear power; and
- a January 2003 French proposal regarding a radiological event severity scale.
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Commitee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities
Last updated: 5 January 2015