The NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) organised a workshop on “Addressing the Challenges of Misinformation” on 29 March 2021 to discuss the topic of misinformation and explore how to address misinformation in public conversations on radioactive waste management.
The virtual event featured a comprehensive presentation by David Brazier, FSC bureau member and Nuclear Waste Assessor at the United Kingdom Environment Agency. Brazier provided an overview of the generic categories of misinformation in circulation and some of the underlying factors for misinformation, such as news fatigue and mistrust. He also presented a range of communication strategies that have been developed to address the misinformation underlying vaccine hesitancy – some of which may be adaptable for use in the nuclear community. These include the verification of sources, labelling misinformation, and employing empathy and inquisitiveness when receiving information.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session during which the participating experts from the FSC, the NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) and the NEA Working Group on Public Communication of Nuclear Regulatory Organisations (WGPC) discussed the interlaced relationships between communicating uncertainty, misinformation and public trust. The discussion also touched upon the use of social media and how nuclear organisations engage on various digital platforms to correct misinformation while retaining trust. The three groups are now considering the next steps for collaboration in this area.
The NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) has been committed for two decades to developing shared confidence, informed consent and acceptance of radioactive waste management, decommissioning and legacy management. The FSC pursues these aims through the enhancement of meaningful stakeholder dialogues.