In recent days the NRC broke what for us is new ground on the social media front. In cooperative efforts with two organizations, we hosted two webinar sessions for bloggers with Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Gregory Jaczko.
As communications methods evolve, so too is the way the NRC is communicating. This blog started at the end of January and now has in the vicinity of 140,000 views. We have begun using Twitter and more recently gotten in to the YouTube arena. Each has its own benefits.
This summer the Chairman asked the NRC Public Affairs Office to help him connect with bloggers. The week of Oct. 3 we were able to have two sessions, one of 90 minutes and the other of about 75 minutes.
Two groups – the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), provided organizational assistance, getting the word out into the various communities of bloggers and others interested in nuclear policy issues. Daniel Yurman, representing ANS, and Michele Boyd, representing PSR, graciously agreed to act as facilitators.
The facilitators took all the questions submitted directly to them and their organizations, and those submitted to two NRC email addresses set up for the occasion, merged them into questions that logically flowed from one to another and then hosted the discussions. The choice of questions was theirs and theirs alone. It was a freewheeling conversation with the Chairman. NRC’s only role was to provide the facilities and technology, and offer some assistance in outreach. We’re combing the questions submitted to see if there are any major topic areas that were missed and could be addressed here on the blog.
Collectively the sessions had nearly 80 participants. The first session focused on those with industry ties, and the second on those in the public interest/watchdog sector. The “metrics” of the sessions tell us almost everyone was tuned in the entire time.
The questions were across the spectrum: Fukushima and associated NRC actions, an Inspector General’s report, Yucca Mountain, spent fuel storage, seismic matters, new reactors and so on.
Both sessions were videotaped and transcribed and that material is now available on the NRC website’s video page. In fact, in keeping with our expanded use of social media in NRC communications, bits of both sessions are being posted to YouTube.
Participant comments we have seen describe it as worthwhile and productive outreach. The chairman came away excited about the chance to spend time with bloggers. Schedules permitting, we look forward to doing this again at some point in the future. Thanks to the ANS and PSR for their assistance, and to all who took time to participate.
Director, Office of Public Affairs