The Evolving Use of Social Media as a Communication Tool by Nuclear Regulatory Organisations

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The topic of social media as appropriate for further study was first proposed by the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC) to the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) at its December 2010 meeting. At thatmeeting, the CNRA approved the new task and identified it as high priority. The report, "Nuclear Regulatory Organisations, the Internet and Social Media: The What, How and Why of their Use as Communication Tools" (NEA, 2014) reflected both the awareness by nuclear organisations of the importance of social media as a communication tool, as well as offering guidance and advice that leveraged the experiences of those NROs that had already adopted the use of social media.

From the outset, the 2014 report was expected to be updated as social media usage generally expanded and platforms rose or fell in popularity, but also in order to reflect the lessons learnt and experiences of those NROs that began adopting or expanding platform usage since the initial report was published. In the spring of 2017, the WGPC determined that it was an appropriate time to begin reassessing social media usage by NROs and to initiate a formal survey as a foundation for an updated report. The proposal received a positive response from the CNRA in June 2017 and the working group commenced its work and completed it a year later.

This report provides the results of the formal social media survey conducted from November 2017 to February 2018, and it offers new case studies from which both successes and lessons learnt can be gleaned.

The report concludes that social media does not replace traditional means of communicating with the public. There remains a need for press releases, fact sheets and public meetings to communicate to the public, special interest groups, other government organisations, industry and academia, and the media. However, it has become obvious that social media is no longer an optional endeavour if an organisation wishes to communicate successfully and capably with its stakeholders. Social media is now fully integrated in the nuclear communicator’s toolbox.