Implementation plans agreed for the results of the dialogue on public engagement on the Generic Design Assessment of new nuclear power stations. Sciencewise role highly praised.
The Environment Agency convened a day-long workshop on 27th August 2015, facilitated by Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist (DES) Steve Robinson. The workshop considered and agreed in detail which of the dialogue findings the dialogue partners would implement (or not), and why, agreed a wider dissemination plan and what they would put forward to the plant developer.
The workshop outputs were fed into a paper to the Environment Agency Nuclear New Build Programme Board (the dialogue project partners are on this Board) to help shape consultation plans for the coming year. The Environment Agency praised the "excellent work" of Steve Robinson in facilitating the workshop.
The public dialogue project was run by a partnership of the Environment Agency, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and supported by Sciencewise. The purpose of the project was to review and improve public involvement in design assessments of nuclear reactors for potential new nuclear power stations (known as Generic Design Assessment - GDA). The GDA process is designed to enable the regulators to begin assessing the acceptability of safety, security and environmental aspects of a nuclear power station design, at a generic level, before site-specific applications are made.
The GDA process provides the regulators with early influence on the design of new nuclear power stations when it is most effective and efficient. It also helps reduce project cost and time risks for developers as it enables regulatory concerns to be identified and addressed early.
The aim of the dialogue was to improve the partners' public consultations by working with the public to identify their needs in relation to future engagement, including around sharing and responding to complex technical information on GDA.
The final dialogue report was published in September 2015 (see www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/assets/Uploads/GDA-dialogue-report-August-2015-FINAL.pdf); the independent evaluation report is at draft stage.