Who is a stakeholder?
Stakeholder involvement is extremely important for the sustainability of a Nuclear Power Program. It helps gaining and maintaining the confidence of the community, both national and international, in safety and efficiency of the nuclear power program, and, therefore, for its successful implementation. Without stakeholders' involvement Project may never be implemented.
Thus, stakeholder involvement should start on the earliest stages of national nuclear infrastructure development. The government and the legislative bodies should develop a national stakeholder involvement policy and the necessary legislation, special divisions in the government, regulatory body and the organizations involved in the nuclear power program should be established.
One of the most important aspects of stakeholder involvement is to identify who are the stakeholders and what are their concerns.
Stakeholders are any people and entities that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected by the project deployment. Those are sponsors, customers, performing organization, subcontractors, suppliers, the public, investors, etc.
Each stakeholder group has specific information needs and expectations, interest or concerns (not always explicitly expressed) related to the respective nuclear facility, which may be addressed in different ways depending on the stakeholder profile and the issue under consideration. The key to the project success is understanding of each stakeholders groups' stake. Stakeholder mapping is a tool for defining their main groups and their priority, role, influence, needs, concerns and expectations.
Afterwards, a clear stakeholder involvement strategy and communication plan should be established that would consider building the necessary infrastructure, define the processes and instruments and allocate funds required for its implementation. That includes, for instance, building information centers aiming at educating public about the use of nuclear energy, establish public councils, etc.
Various tools should be used to communicate to all the groups of stakeholders: media, social networks, press and technical tours, public consultations, popular science reading material, educational seminars, social responsibility projects, etc.
Successful stakeholder involvement in nuclear activities underlies in understanding that stakeholder involvement is not a standardized procedure. Stakeholders differ from country to country and their involvement should be convened within culture sensitivity and national legal system and norms.
Notwithstanding the final decision regarding nuclear program implementation lies within the government, the stakeholder involvement in the overall process is vital in developing confidence and trust, transparency, without which progress can be difficult if not impossible.