Public Dialogue to review the Nuclear Industries Concordat on Public Engagement 

Two R4C consultants (Mike & Irene) worked as facilitators for Hopkins van Mil (HVM) who were delivering a Sciencewise Public Dialogue to review the Nuclear Industries Concordat on Public Engagement

There is a UK policy commitment to deliver a significant proportion of our energy through the nuclear option as it is seen to deliver on energy security, the need for low carbon and affordable energy solutions. The UK has a long but to some extent uneasy relationship with nuclear power and it is for this reason that increasing awareness and understanding within wider society is a critical aspect of creating a future for nuclear energy. 

The nuclear industry has demonstrated its commitment to learning that how you say something is as important as what you say. This cultural shift for the industry has made clear the importance of engaging, not only with industry stakeholders (which it has done throughout its history) but also with the wider public. Wider society is comprised of people who, by and large, know of nuclear energy but not necessarily very much about it. The development by the Nuclear Industry Council’s (NIC’s) of a Concordat for Public Engagement is to be welcomed as is the public dialogue through which the Concordat will be tested. Giving the public a voice in the Concordat’s development is essential and a very public and outward sign of best practice in public engagement. 

Nuclear energy is a highly complex and emotive topic so engaging with the public has the potential to be challenging. Being able to focus on reviewing the text of the Nuclear Concordat on Public Engagement and support the development of the nuclear narrative materials is helpful in ensuring the dialogue provides the insight on public engagement required by the industry.   

The work involved facilitating 2 workshops held in Wrexham in the summer of 2016 which involved 20 members of the public and a selection of nuclear experts. The results of this workshop and another run by HVM in Barrow-in-Furness will provide the Nuclear Industries Council valuable feedback which will be used to refine the industries concordat on Public Engagement.

For more information contact Mike