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PROJECT | Staff Reporter, Malaysia

How ASEAN countries must handle unique nuclear risks

Gaps in stakeholder expectations must be addressed.

In this third installment of an interview series by Asian Power and Nuclear Power Asia 2017, we spoke with Tiina Tigerstedt, Independent Advisor, Senior Policy Advisor to Sass Consulting, Finland, as she expounds on risks unique to ASEAN countries in developing nuclear power.

What are the unique challenges for emerging countries while developing their nuclear power programmes?

Preparing and implementing adequate, situation tailored communications strategies and plans can be a challenging process. Efficient and consistent communication of the rationale of the programme, the economic, environmental, technical and governance related aspects, in a trust enhancing manner requires broad commitment, time and resources of all those involved in the programmes.

How does nuclear power drive economic development?

One aspect of economic development worth noting is that the investment in nuclear power generates not just a reliable source for baseload electricity, but also brings added value for a society through indirect impacts throughout the lifecycle. The nuclear power investment can benefit the society at large and open windows of opportunities for capacity building, jobs and for creating new partnerships.

What are the unique risks for the ASEAN countries in developing nuclear power? What needs to take place to strengthen nuclear energy in the region?

Given the challenges related to the necessary processes for building trust, any gaps in serving the needs and expectations of key stakeholders related to exhibiting good governance through communications and involvement may cause issues and barriers for the overall programme.

Acknowledging the value of effective communication and broad consultations and taking action in establishing a genuinely productive relationships with key stakeholders is one of the fundamental components for a feasible nuclear power programme.

What is the industry doing collectively to overcome public acceptance issues?

It is a shared interest that all those involved in developing and implementing nuclear power programmes take decisive action in earning the trust and confidence from their stakeholders through efficient communication and engagement. Performance in this task of all those involved in nuclear power programmes serves the interests of the industry as a whole.

Sharing experiences, good practices and lessons learnt is one collective way of approaching and addressing issues concerning public acceptance.

What is an acceptable and cost-effective methodology to assess public opinion on nuclear power in ASEAN?

An engagement focussed approach based on continuous consultations fostered by those involved in nuclear power programmes can be a cost-effective way of gathering intelligence, helping to make informed choices on how to address the questions and concerns underlying opinions and perceptions.

What’s your vision for the nuclear power industry looking forward?

An industry increasingly associated with sustainable development, fulfilling its role as part of an environmentally friendly energy mix. An industry known for its progressive and advanced approach to stakeholder engagement, skilful in exhibiting accountability and fostering good governance.

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