On October 18 and 19, 2022, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) International Regulatory Development Partnership supported a 2-day Stakeholder Engagement and Communications virtual webinar for Latvia. This webinar was part of the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program, led by the U.S. Department of State in collaboration with the NRC and other U.S. agencies. The FIRST program is supporting Latvia as it explores the adoption of nuclear energy technology and formation of their independent nuclear regulatory authority.
This webinar supported Latvia in applying best practices as they develop their communications strategy for stakeholder engagement, and timely implementation to address stakeholder awareness. The Latvian government agencies represented at the seminar included the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the State Environmental Service, the Radiation Safety Centre, and the state energy company, Latvenergo. The webinar was led by Dr. Kenneth L. Peddicord, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, supported by Ms. Kelle Barfield and Dr. Ann Bisconti, nuclear communications consultants, as well as experts from the NRC and the Japanese government.
The online seminar spanned two days, each consisting of 3-hour sessions. The day-one session highlighted the strategic need for stakeholder engagement and addressed specific objectives that support stakeholder relationships. Day-two sessions covered initial considerations in developing a new nuclear program, formation of an independent regulatory authority, and overall workforce development. Mr. Mark Tonacci of AdSTM, Inc. presented Establishing an Independent Regulatory Authority on behalf of the NRC. Latvian attendees were very engaged in questions and follow-on discussions.