U.S. NRC Blog

Transparent, Participate, and Collaborate

REFRESH — Let There Be Light

lightbulbMore than 60 years ago this month – though not related to the holiday season as far as we know — a string of bulbs lit up courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory. What was the significance? The electricity used to power the bulbs was generated by an experimental breeder reactor and was the first electricity produced using the heat of nuclear fission.

Photo from the Department of Energy

refresh leafREFRESH is an occasional series where we rerun previous posts. This first ran in December 2014. 

Five Questions with Rick Hasselberg

Rick Hasselberg is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator with the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response.

  1. How would you briefly describe your role at the NRC?

5 questions_9with boxI manage the NRC’s Reactor Safety Team. If an emergency occurs at a nuclear power plant, my team is responsible for assessing nuclear facility conditions, predicting future conditions, and recommending actions the NRC might take to help protect public health and safety. I am responsible for recruiting, training, and continuously challenging the expertise and response readiness of one of the most respected emergency response organizations in the world.  What could be better than that?

  1. What is your foremost responsibility at work?

I think about emergencies. While 99 percent of the people working at the NRC are working hard to ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place, I work under the assumption that any of those safety measures could possible fail and that it’s time to get busy.  (The more I think about the things that might happen, the less surprised I will be if they do.

  1. What is your most significant challenge in the workplace?

rickh_fixedI struggle with competing demand for the agency’s best and brightest employees.  I must ensure that NRC will able to maintain a pool of experienced, qualified response team members who can be pulled away from their regular duties to train, exercise and, if ever needed, to respond to an actual emergency event.

  1. What do you consider one of your most notable accomplishments at the NRC?

I joined the NRC in late 1979, in the months following the Three Mile Island Accident. During that period, the NRC was under considerable pressure to improve both its internal training programs and its external public information (outreach) programs. I contributed significantly to both programs, introducing multimedia production techniques (film, video, and 35mm slides) for improving internal technical training, and I created and presented a highly acclaimed, day-long Nuclear Power and Radiation seminar that NRC presented to news media representatives throughout the United States. I was credited with helping to re-establish NRC credibility with the news media.

  1. What is one quality of the NRC that more people should know?

This agency has a lot of very smart, very talented people who really care about their role in serving the nation. I’m very proud to serve with them.

Five Questions is an occasional series in which we pose the same questions to different NRC staff members.

 

 

Improving Public Meetings with New Facilitators and Policy Statement

Lance Rakovan
Senior Communications Specialist

It’s been a while since I first addressed the topic of NRC facilitators in a blog post; however we recently brought a new group of facilitators into the NRC’s In-House Meeting Facilitator & Advisor Program and I thought the occasion was worth mentioning.

The NRC's latest public meeting facilitators area ready to step into their new roles

The NRC’s latest public meeting facilitators are ready to step into their new roles.

The purpose of the program is to help make meetings and outreach more effective, inclusive and fair, and to increase NRC’s capacity to collaborate and solve problems with both internal and external stakeholders.

Program facilitators are NRC staff who assist in planning, preparing for and conducting meetings. They help with meetings as a collateral duty (in other words, in addition to their primary jobs). When asked why they would add to their workload by joining this program, facilitators said they’re looking for new challenges and to expand their skill set. But more importantly, they said they’re looking for new ways to help the NRC accomplish its mission.

The new facilitators, the fourth group of staff to enter the program, or “Gen4,” forged ties while completing four days of training. The training was intensive and, as you would expect, featured many opportunities for participants to test out their collaboration skills in a safe environment. Next step is for them to work with experienced facilitators for additional on-the-job training on their way to becoming “fully credentialed” members of the NRC’s Facilitator Corps.

While on the subject of public meetings, let me update you on the status of the Commission Policy Statement on Public Meetings. As I mentioned in my September 19, 2016, blog post, the NRC has drafted a new Commission policy statement on public meetings and sought public comment to make sure it hits the mark. The new policy statement is meant to re-affirm the importance of public participation in NRC’s public meetings and address a number of concerns noted previously by the public and NRC staff.

publicopinionnewI’ve seen some of the comments and there are some great ideas being provided. The policy statement is meant to be “50,000 feet” kind of guidance, so not all the ideas provided in the comments will be reflected in the final version of the policy statement, but the majority of them will certainly be incorporated into some level of NRC guidance, such as the next revision to NRC Management Directive 3.5, “Attendance at NRC Staff-Sponsored Meetings.”

Stay tuned for more information on the status of the policy statement. And look for our new facilitators at the next public meeting you attend.

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