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The level of public relations in a democratic society is one of the decisive factors of acceptability of safe nuclear energy both at present, as well as for the future.

For this reason it is necessary to spend maximum effort in the area of communication with public and media.

The public understands the need of nuclear energy in our country and perceives it as a source of safe energy and heat which serves people and does not endanger them. The existence of a source of safe power and heat in meeting required high standards of nuclear safety will be a long-term solution for energy and environmental issues in Slovakia.

UJD is here for the public, it is a supervisory institution, which provides true and independent information on nuclear safety of nuclear installations, including information about RAW, spent fuel management, nuclear materials, their control and accounting, as well as information about the fuel cycle. UJD provides information in a systemic way, precisely and understandably, so they cannot be disclaimed because the public has the right to know the truth. In formulating an information it is important that it is regular, consistent and open, because information presented in this way must not serve for controversy. UJD provides information independently and separately from information published by operators of nuclear power plants. In Slovakia UJD has the important competencies in the area of public information on nuclear safety.

Already in 1995 UJD has laid foundations for the concept of broad public information on the activity of UJD and on safety of nuclear installations by opening an Information Center of UJD. This center secures communication with the public and media, which help the public to create favorable picture about the independent state supervision over nuclear safety.

Numerous missions of experts in the area of communication with the public and media from Sweden, Finland, UK, Germany, and the US helped to build and train UJD specialists which was expressed by the capability to prepare several seminars and meetings with local and foreign experts and also with journalists.

At the beginning of the year, based on favorable international experience UJD was included into the joint project with the Public Information Division of the IAEA in organizing an international seminar "Nuclear energy and media". Lecturers from Finland, Germany, Japan, Slovenia, U , and Slovakia and from the IAEA, headed by the deputy general director of the IAEA, Mr. Zigmund Domaratzki lectured at this inter-regional seminar.

During 1998 UJD issued the "Annual Report on the Activity of UJD" both in Slovak and English for public administration, domestic and international organizations, Embassies in the country and abroad, and for local and foreign public. In the course of 1998 there were 73 contributions sent to the press agencies of Slovakia (TASR and SITA) on local and foreign activities of UJD (besides that this information was sent also to other Slovak dailies and electronic media).

UJD, together with State Nuclear Safety Authority of the Czech Republic (SUJB), is a publisher of an expert journal "Safety of Nuclear Energy" (there are 6 issues in a year). This journal publishes articles about important activities of the Authority and in the column "Information" it regularly brings short news about the activity of UJD and safety of nuclear installations in Slovakia (inspection activity, organizing seminars and meetings of experts, significant domestic and foreign visits). The Double issue 9/10 (1988) was dedicated to gradual reconstruction of EBO V-1 NPP. For 1999 a mono-topical double issue 3/4 is prepared on the commissioning process of unit 1, EMO NPP. Contributions from supervisory activity and international cooperation of UJD are regularly published in the "Newsletter of SE", company journal "Mochovce" and "Bohunice", in the "Bulletin of the Slovak Nuclear Society (SNUS)". Every year the report on safety of nuclear installations in Slovakia is published in the journal of the "European Nuclear Society - Nuclear Europe Worldscan".

For the world information agency NucNet 6 contributions were prepared. In 1998 UJD published 3 issues of an internal "Bulletin" focusing on local and foreign activities of UJD. For the first time UJD contributed with a presentation "Role and responsibility and the main areas of UJD activity in securing the required level of nuclear safety in Slovak nuclear installations" (contribution and a photo document). The first presentation was published in an exclusive journal which was prepared for the participants of the World Energy Conference, which was held in September 1998 in Houston, US. The second contribution was published in the special publication about Slovakia published in May 1998 by the Slovak Embassy in Spain. In 1998 5 press conferences were held at UJD, with a follow up presentation of the chairman of UJD on TV and in radio.

Press conferences related to the following events:

  • Act on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy, upon adoption by the Parliament (April)

  • Annual Report of UJD for 1997, upon approval by the Government of SR (June)

  • 5 th anniversary of establishment of UJD (March)

  • Visit of EMO NPP within the Polish-Slovak intergovernmental meeting (June)

  • On conclusions from the 42 nd General Conference of the IAEA with the focus of election of Slovakia for member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA for 1998 - 99 (September).

Extraordinary activities of UJD during 1998 in the area of public relations resulted from the process of commissioning of unit 1 of EMO NPP. UJD inspectors, based on an annual inspection plan, performed a number of inspections at individual technology units of EMO NPP. For the first time the team inspections of UJD included also the spokesman of UJD who was preparing both short and longer information for the media on these UJD inspections with giving specific conclusions from these inspections and adopted measures. Requirement of UJD was to complete and operate EMO NPP with such a safety standard, which complies with current international requirements and standards and is acceptable by the public. For this reason already during the construction there were several assessments by international experts and organizations upon request of UJD, the results of which were implemented into the project documentation.

These steps of safety measures and preparation and commissioning of unit I of EMO NPP were presented by the state independent press officer in review to media and press agencies. UJD staff was answering numerous inquiries every day posed by national dailies, TV and radio. The Austria-Slovak contacts on EMO NPP resulted in many presentations of UJD top officials on TV programs of Austrian, Hungarian and all channels of Slovak TV. Besides other also South Korean and Australian TV companies visited the chairman of UJD. At the Information Center of UJD the spokesman regularly answered questions of reporters from local dailies, but often also inquiries of Austrian, German, Hungarian and Slovak TV stations, related to safety of unit I of EMO NPP.

During this period UJD head officials participated, together with the operators of EMO NPP media discussions in Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna. Issues of safety improvement were politicized in media and that resulted in a hot media summer of 1998.

Despite of these adverse effects the commissioning of unit 1 EMO NPP was managed on a high professional and expert level, which had a very favorable response from media and professional circles around the world.

Commissioning of unit 1 EMO NPP is also a positive signal in the East-West cooperation. Nuclear power plant Mochovce is an example of international co-operation in safety improvement and in achieving world safety standards.

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© Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic, 1999