Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nuclear Energy Industry Communications in Pacific Rim Nations

Over the past several months, PCG has been working in cooperation with the Pacific Nuclear Council (PNC) to study the effect of the events at Fukushima Daiichi on nuclear energy industry communications in Pacific Rim nations. Using a web-based survey, we sought to gain insight into best communication practices, priority topics and future plans for nuclear energy education on the Pacific Rim.

You may not be familiar with the PNC – an organization composed of nuclear societies in Pacific Rim nations with a mission of advancing cooperation in the region on nuclear energy. After the events at Fukushima Daiichi, the PNC decided to conduct a survey of nuclear energy communications professionals in Pacific Rim nations, the first survey of its kind in the region.

PCG did the actual survey work, generating participation among communicators from Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. We reached out to communicators in several other nations as well, but didn’t generate participation from them for this survey. The PNC intends to conduct the survey annually to grow the richness, depth and breadth of the data and to track trends longitudinally.

Mimi Limbach, Partner at PCG, shared the findings at the 18th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference in Busan, South Korea. The top line – respondents spent much of their time during the past year correcting misinformation about nuclear energy. No surprise there, as critics of nuclear energy are active throughout the Pacific Basin, and Fukushima caused a lot of confusion about our technology.

Other points of interest: 

  •       Respondents highlighted the need to make technical information about nuclear   energy more accessible and easy to understand.
  •       The general public, media, government officials and regulators were the top audiences (in that order).
  •       Safety, waste disposal, cost and health effects were the top four issues (in that order).
  •       The need to develop and implement an effective crisis plan was an overwhelming priority. Fukushima demonstrated that not all crisis plans are created equal.
One surprising finding was that, for many organizations, the use of social media appears to be relatively immature. Perhaps this is attributable in part to the relative conservatism of nuclear energy organizations. For example, you would be surprised at how few nuclear utilities in the U.S. have a robust social media program. However, about a third of those surveyed intended to launch or grow their social media programs in the next year.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a link to a presentation about the survey:

Mike Diekman, PNC Executive Director, 
Reem al Hashimi, Head of External Affairs 
and Government Relations for the Emirates 
Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), and 
Seah Lee, Assistant Manager at Korean 
Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency 
Mimi Limbach, Partner and PNC Vice-President/
President Elect and Reem al Hashimi of ENEC listen 
to Jenam Jang’s (KONEPA) presentation on energizing 
young people to support nuclear energy during the 
Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference’s Communications 

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