Public relations

In harmony with the legal requirements, it is essential to keep the public informed of all activities and actions taken in relation to the management and disposal of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel. However, this shall not be restricted merely to publication of the information, but shall in addition include the initiation of dialogue, on the merits, with the population living around the Spent Fuel Interim Storage Facility or the radioactive waste repositories, as well as in the region of site investigations for a repository.

It is of special importance to achieve a comprehensive consensus and public acceptance for the implementation of the safe disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. It is shown by domestic and international experience that the public support requires unbroken and purposeful efforts to obtain.

The Act CXVI of 1996 on Atomic Energy established the possibility to subsidize the associations of the local governments from the Central Nuclear Financial Fund. The Parliament makes the decision on the total sum of the subsidy in the Act on the state budget, and a government decree regulates its distribution among the municipal associations. The support serves for financing information and control activities, settlement development and operational costs.

Altogether four associations were set up in the area of site investigation as well as around the repositories and interim storage of spent fuel:

  • Isotope Information and Control Association (ITET), around the Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility (10 settlements),
  • Social Control and Information Association (TETT), around the National Radioactive Waste Repository (8 settlements),
  • Social Control, Information and Settlement Development Association (TEIT), around the Spent Fuel Interim Storage Facility (in common with Paks NPP, 13 settlements)
  • West-Mecsek Social Information, Control and Settlement Development Association (NYMTIT), in the area of site investigations for an underground research laboratory and a HLW repository (11 settlements).

From the beginning, PURAM placed great emphasis on openly and fairly informing the residents of the concerned municipalities. This was done through a series of events, public forums, and also in writing (information publications, articles displayed in the associations’ newsletters, video-newsletter coverages). These activities were greatly fostered by the constructive cooperation with the representatives of the local government associations of the regions, as well as by the support from the residents working in the facility and non-governmental monitoring organizations.

All of the associations founded a control committee that are also involved in the information flow. The members of the committees regularly inform the residents about their observations regarding the operation and safety of the facilities.

Feed-back on how much confidence there is in the activities of PURAM, on how successful the information-sharing efforts, on how the population’s opinion regarding nuclear energy and radioactive waste management is evolving, is provided by the results of the public surveys, which have been conducted every two years since 2005. These surveys can demonstrated that the inhabitants of the regions have an outstanding general knowledge of the radioactive waste, compared with the national level, and they have a high degree of trust towards our Company. The majority thinks responsibly about the final disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel, and they agree that the problem has to be solved now, within the territory of our country. It must be noted that most of these people are aware also of what activities are going on in their environment.

To ensure that local people learn more on how radioactive waste is generated and how it is managed and treated, visits are organized on regular basis to the nuclear power plant, to the Spent Fuel Interim Storage Facility and to the operating radioactive waste repositories. These visits play a particular role in building relations, since it is much easier to perceive the reality this way than by any kind of academic argumentation. In these facilities, visitors can meet the workers of the facility and can see that they are like they themselves. This experience may help remove any mystical fictions associated with the use of atomic energy.

For more information about the visits, please click here