How will it be possible for the nuclear energy industry to regain the public’s trust? That was one of the topics discussed at an expert meeting with international advisers to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, held at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo on 11 June 2014.
Advice from the experts emphasized the need for a deeper commitment from the nuclear energy industry to actively engage and listen to a wide range of stakeholders and to communicate more effectively in an accessible, non-technical manner. The experts highlighted the importance of fostering a “safety culture” in which safety and integrity are afforded the highest priority and related concerns can be openly raised and addressed.
The expert meeting took place under the framework of the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Fukushima Global Communication Programme (FGC). It brought together a distinguished group of experts from Japan and abroad for an engaging discussion focused on public perceptions of nuclear energy.
Among the topics discussed, emphasis was placed on the effective sharing and dissemination of information to citizens concerned with the risks of nuclear power following the Great East Japan Earthquake and the associated accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In line with the objectives of the FGC, the discussions were informed by a human security approach complemented by insights from the science and policy community.
Discussions benefited from the attendance of Commissioner Kenzo Oshima (Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Agency), as well as input from international advisers including Mr. André-Claude Lacoste (former Chairman of the French Nuclear Safety Authority), Dr. Richard A. Meserve (former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission), and Dr. Mike Weightman (former Head of the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation).
Opening remarks were delivered by Commissioner Oshima and Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Senior Vice-Rector, UNU), who emphasized the importance of the FGC in fostering exchange between Japanese and international experts while serving as a politically neutral and globally networked platform. The proceedings and open discussion were moderated by Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto (Director, UNU-IAS).
The session was recorded and a detailed report will be made available on the FGC website.