The toolbox, an online resource designed for technical staff as well as communication professionals, provides information on core principles and methodological approaches for effectively engaging with relevant stakeholders on the use of nuclear technologies. It offers quick and easy access to reference information for crafting and implementing a communication plan, including how to identify the concerns of a diverse group of stakeholders and deliver key messages to optimize engagement.
Initially released in 2007, the toolbox has been overhauled to include an enhanced, more user-friendly layout as well as significantly expanded content which reflects the evolving landscape of communication tools, particularly social media. The toolbox is now divided into four main sections: basics of communication; methods for establishing and operating an effective communication programme; tools for implementing a communication plan; and an InfoCentre with links to IAEA pages on related topics in nuclear science and technology.
“Nuclear science and technology programmes involve a broad number of stakeholders; thus, it is very important to develop specific communication strategies which are mindful of each and responsive to all stakeholders,” said Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy. “The toolbox recommends tools to support communication on key topics of interest to stakeholders, including ways to address their concerns.”
Emmanuel Wandera, a communication specialist at Kenya’s Nuclear Power & Energy Agency who participated in the development of the updated toolbox, emphasized the utility of the toolbox in helping nuclear organizations develop a communication strategy to build public trust. “Cultivating public acceptance for a nuclear programme requires that safety concerns be thoroughly addressed, both at the programme’s outset and throughout its implementation,” he said. “The toolbox provides references on how to address risk perceptions of the public and describes how best to respond to these perceptions in order to increase transparency and build trust in the programme.”
The toolbox will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in communication trends and inform on new tools as they become available. The IAEA is organizing a series of technical meetings on selected communication topics to review input on potential updates. The first of this series will be the Technical Meeting on Using Social Media for Public Communication and Stakeholder Involvement for Nuclear Programmes, to be held from 9 to 13 December in Vienna.