April 13, 2018

Action Plan for Reforming Communication Activities

Key points:

Plan various communication activities which are interactive and include participants’ opinions (NUMO will no longer utilize the support of external organizations);
Visit and deliver presentations in places capable of attracting people from a wide range of different backgrounds, improve approaches for engaging students and make greater use of the NUMO website; and
Regularly review these efforts through staff discussion and reflection.

Ⅰ. Improvement in past approaches to seminars and information exchange meetings

Current situation and challenges:

From past seminars and information exchange meetings that NUMO has held, feedback from participants has included: 1) it is difficult for beginners to participate in discussions because of differences in the amount of knowledge on geological disposal; and 2) it is difficult to stimulate discussion between participants if they are interested in different aspects of geological disposal.

Future actions:

1. Improvements to the management of information exchange events

In response to participant feedback, we will discontinue the conventional nationwide symposia and undertake the organization of smaller meetings that include face-to-face discussions and interactive dialogue (i.e. much closer communication between NUMO staff and participants than before); and
For the benefit of participants, NUMO will be more flexible when conducting small group discussions (i.e. we will divide participants into groups that readily allow questions, answers and exchanges of opinions at each table). In addition, we will regularly try out different styles/approaches to meetings in order to continually improve and enhance participant experience.
For beginners, prepare tables where NUMO staff can explain the basic concepts of geological disposal as needed. Participants are free to move to different tables at any point during meetings. Provide materials which are more user friendly and easier to read, in advance of meetings;
Set discussion tables with different topics such as “policies”, “risk management and safety measures” and “contribution to the society”. Adopt various styles that participants can choose topics based on their interest and concerns and express their opinions, while simultaneously allowing them to move freely between tables/topics; and
To stimulate active involvement among all participants, NUMO will make efforts to ensure that everyone understands the key points of the particular subject/topic under discussion (e.g. make use of posters and sticky notes, classification of participants’ interest).

2. Efforts for broader discussion

Widely disseminate information by making live videos of meetings available on the NUMO website;
Request participation of representative stakeholders at meetings and encourage expression of opinion; and
Hold panel discussions with experts or specialists in a range of fields related to geological disposal.

Ⅱ. Efforts to enhance interest in geological disposal

Current situation and challenges:

In seminars and information exchange meetings in the past, there has been much less participation of both women and the younger generation, and thus approaches and efforts for raising their interest and awareness need to be considered; and
We have disseminated information and conducted related facility tours for people who are interested in geological disposal. In the future, we will continue to encourage these interested stakeholders and furthermore, where desired, we will support them in disseminating their learned knowledge on geological disposal more widely.

Future actions:

1. Efforts to make “NUMO” and “geological disposal” more high profile (organize “school festival style exhibitions”)

Exhibit NUMO’s PR booth in places capable of attracting larger numbers of people from a range of different backgrounds (e.g. for company employees: business districts, for women: large shopping malls); and
Design a booth where visitors can enjoy learning about the geological disposal project through a virtual reality exhibition, a 3D animation movie and interactive mock-ups of components of a geological repository (e.g. the multiple barrier system).

2. Tailored approaches to students according to their background (e.g. scientific and non-scientific majors)

Deliver presentations to students studying energy and nuclear related topics (to raise awareness of “NUMO” and “geological disposal” among college students who already have an interest in energy and nuclear power);
Organize exhibitions and site tours for students studying in scientific and technical fields related to the implementation of the geological disposal project (also approach students studying in fields outside (but related to) the nuclear industry such as: civil engineering, architecture and geology, all of which will be very important to the implementation of the project); and
Carry out exhibitions and deliver presentations at relevant conferences and/or meetings.

3. Improvements to the NUMO website

NUMO staff will make appearances on the NUMO website and also social networking services (e.g. Facebook and Instagram) to explain various aspects of geological disposal (so that people can become more familiar with NUMO’s project tasks, directly from NUMO staff);
Share participant opinions that were obtained from information exchange meetings, and answer their concerns in plain language (non-technical) on the website;
Develop and implement a “NUMO Test” that will allow interested people to check their knowledge on geological disposal; and
Make available on the website videos of the panel discussions with experts and specialists that work in various fields related to geological disposal.

Active support of people and groups willing to learn about geological disposal and promotion of interaction between learners

Identify and support both individuals and groups who are interested in self-learning and promote exchanges between those people and groups. Share experiences and raise awareness of the issue of geological disposal to expand networks between learners across Japan for increased information dissemination and understanding.

Ⅲ. Mid- and long-term efforts (conducting human resources development training, etc.)

1. Science communicator training courses

NUMO staff, including the technical experts, take part in science communication training courses in colleges, in order to improve face-to-face communication with the public.

2. Learning knowledge of consensus-building

Regularly conduct interviews with social scientists who are experts in the fields of consensus-building and communication and incorporate the findings into communication activities.