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Messages that Persuade

Early education on nuclear science and technology helps audiences avoid fear driven reactions. Discussions on a nuclear project’s goals can build positive associations between the technology and quality of life. In this way, nuclear operators can partner with communities to pursue shared goals for improvements to environmental, economic and social conditions.

The IAEA Publication “Communication and Stakeholder Involvement in Environmental Remediation Projects”, offers an in-depth look at how good communication strategies will encourage cooperation and understanding between different interested parties. But successful communication at the end of a facility’s operational life often reveals effective involvement of stakeholders from the beginning.

Communicators in the nuclear sector must take initiative and begin regular and sustained interaction to build community awareness. Support can only begin to take shape when the public is aware of a project, its goals and implications. Initial outreach efforts that result from stakeholder demands for information undermine the credibility of nuclear project leaders. If rumours and misinformation already exist, a gap exists in the trust needed to build community support. Communicators must address any credibility deficit before positive public sentiment will dominate discussions. Early and often outreach allows project leads to inform stakeholders proactively and eliminate the need to defend actions. By volunteering information, solutions to possible problems are identified and activated early.

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