A Public Communication Case Study: Switzerland

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The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC) has dealt with a broad range of communications issues and produced a variety of reports, including most recently, “A Comprehensive Report on Three Regional Stakeholder Workshops in Europe, North America and Asia” (NEA/CNRA/R(2017)7, February 2018). Reflecting on the outcomes of these regional workshops and taking into account cultural differences and other factors within regions, the WGPC members considered that it would be useful to provide a more in-depth analysis on case studies focusing on a specific event at the national level. With this objective, the WGPC members are engaging in a series of case studies to be held every two years during their annual plenary meetings, starting in 2018.

This first case study addressed in this report provides insights on a situation experienced by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) which seemed marginal at first glance in terms of public communication. However, it appeared later that the event had gathered attention and some criticism from the stakeholders concerned, including media and the civil society.

This report illustrates a practical example of how nuclear regulatory bodies can cope with these similar circumstances in an effort to better address such communication challenges vis-à-vis the general public (to put aside the associated technical aspects), with the purpose of sharing lessons learnt and relevant experiences with the wider audience and stakeholder communities.