In France, since 2006, the legal framework has been reinforced in order to have a better compliance with the safety features of nuclear installations but also a relevant communication with the public about the nuclear risks and the nuclear decisions. Starting with the Nuclear Safety Transparency law of 2007 defining transparency in the nuclear field as “the set of provisions adopted to ensure the public’s right to reliable and accessible information on nuclear safety”, afterwards reinforced by the Law on Energy Transition and Renewable Energy in 2015. This law reinforced the transparency provisions, requiring not only transparent one way information but also public participation.
Even before the first transparency law, in France, communication consisted in a classic one way information process based on reporting incidents or events which occurred on Nuclear Power Plants or installations. Next it was decided to publish all technical inspection notifications on nuclear installations on the regulatory website. The French Technical Support Organization IRSN, and the Nuclear safety Authority ASN, promote these reports and publications through press conferences and nowadays also through twitter.
IRSN, way before the transparency requirements, made it one of their priorities to develop different methods and tools for the improvement of communication between Experts and Public promoting visibility and trustworthiness. Thanks to the new legal framework, the development of new tools to inform and engage citizens is accelerated. The traditional tools available are annual reports, newsletters, websites, magazines, Press data center, press conferences, etc...today completed with new tools such as YouTube, twitter, Facebook.
In addition, IRSN developed ways and tools promoting direct contact with the public, such as “Open House Days” allowing the public to discover work on site and to dialogue with Experts. In line with the “face to face” formula, IRSN implemented an Information and Education Strategy for the Public to enhance their Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Culture.
The objective of this article is to explain further each method developed and the support used to enhance the Public’s Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Culture.