The openness principle is the key one as far as the organization of awareness-raising work with the general public is concerned. The statement was made by Liliya Dulinets, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Energy Department of the Belarusian Energy Ministry, as she commented on results of the latest opinion poll about the development of nuclear energy industry in Belarus. The comments were made as part of the online conference hosted by the BelTA website on 1 March.
The official noted that the Energy Ministry, the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, and other agencies involved in implementing the national nuclear energy program constantly keep the general public informed about major nuclear power plant construction events via mass media, the website and social networking accounts of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Information and education centers have been opened in Ostrovets and Minsk where specialists can explain nuclear technologies in layman terms. Press conferences and roundtable sessions are regularly arranged to discuss topical matters concerning the development of nuclear energy industry, including during energy forums.
Liliya Dulinets said: “Certainly, we try to improve our work. We study the relevant international experience. We are always on the lookout for effective forms of interaction with public organizations. We train awareness-raising specialists, too.”
“We understand that the more ignorant people are about using nuclear fuel as a source of energy, the more fears and gossip will be generated in this area. Some environmental organizations and public associations that vehemently oppose peaceful uses of nuclear energy and undermine the well-deserved credibility of nuclear energy industry with its more than half a century of history work very actively in that regard,” she added.
The opinion poll has revealed that Belarusians understand the need to become more aware about the safe operation of nuclear power plants and from a young age at that. As many as 59.7% of those polled in Belarus believe that the introduction of general lectures in educational institutions about various aspects of operation of nuclear power plants can make the nation better aware of nuclear energy uses and will gradually eliminate the Chernobyl syndrome. As far as social groups are concerned, the people strongly in favor of raising the awareness of the nation about nuclear power plant operation starting with school age include executives (78.7%), white-collar workers (68.7%), and blue-collar workers (63.8%).
One of the questions asked during the online conference wondered whether secondary school needs special disciplines to raise the nation’s awareness about nuclear power plant operation. Liliya Dulinets said she believes it is necessary to get in touch with the Education Ministry and other competent organizations to discuss the possibility of introducing such disciplines, including for the sake of career guidance. A nuclear energy information center was established at premises of the national center for innovative and technical creativity in Minsk in 2014. The information center is intent on spreading knowledge about nuclear energy, popularizing science and cutting-edge technologies among school and university students as well as teachers and professors.