The Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) has launched a concordat committing the industry to greater public engagement at the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA)’s annual #Nuclear – Powering the UK conference.
The Concordat, backed by organisations across the nuclear industry was formally launched by Lord Hutton who chairs the NIC. The organisation was launched in 2013 as a partnership between Government and industry to provide high level strategic direction to the industry.
Lord Hutton, co-Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Council, said: “The industry already engages in public outreach – especially in areas where they operate, or plan to build. This can be through open public consultations or school events, but as an industry we need to get the message to a wider audience; to those people who aren’t in nuclear communities but benefit from the low carbon, secure source of energy nuclear provides.
“The aim is to take the narrative beyond the media, by encouraging people to be proud of the sector and the work they do; having the confidence to talk to other parents in the school playground, or to family and friends. Helping the wider public understand what nuclear is, can help change opinion about the sector.”
The Concordat, developed by an industry-wide group as part of the NIC, sets out four main principles for communication which organisations should use as part of their strategy:
- Leadership commitment: taking public attitudes seriously and embedding public engagement into strategic and operational plans
- Best practice: ensuring organisations listen to and consult the public, are open and transparent on key issues, and are clear and consistent
- Effective communicators: recognise that people are ambassadors and that industry experts as well as industry leaders have a role to play in public communication
- Making a difference: measuring public opinion and monitoring what the public want to hear about to ensure a better understanding of civil nuclear
Professor Andrew Sherry, Chief Scientist at the UK National Nuclear Laboratory and Chair of the Public Understanding of Nuclear Energy workstream of the NIC, said: “The aim is that by formally endorsing these four principles and working them out in practical terms the UK nuclear industry will become increasingly effective in engaging with the public, and importantly, the UK’s nuclear workforce will feel better equipped to talk about the important role they play in helping to deliver low carbon electricity to the country.
“I believe that this work represents an important step in the UK nuclear industry recognising the need firstly to become more open about the work which we do and secondly to work harder to engage and inform the public about activities and opportunities all across the sector.”