PIME 2008 - Meeting communication challenges, old and new

The city of Prague (Czech Republic) was the host for the 20th edition of the PIME conference (Public Information Material Exchange). Organized by the European Nuclear Society, in cooperation with FORATOM, IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency, the conference dedicated to communications and public relations, brought together over 190 participants from 30 different countries. During its 20 years of existence, PIME has become an important event on the agenda of all communicators in the nuclear field and attracts specialists from similar industries such as wind power, as well as from distinct sectors such as transportation.


This year's conference took place from February 10-13, comprising a two day conference programme and one day dedicated to a technical tour to the research reactor of the Faculty of Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, in Prague.

PIME benefited from the support of Czech power company - CEZ, which satisfies about 60% of the country's energy demand.

The conference addressed new trends in communications, new electronic media, internal communications, education and training, risk and crisis communications and public consultation and stakeholder involvement. The presentations highlighted the extensive experience in public relations of major energy companies such as CEZ, EDF, the Japan Atomic Power Company, Vattenfall Europe, NIA and Nuclearelectrica, to which was added the contribution of international organisations such as IAEA, OECD, NEA, ENS, WiN, YGN and the Nuclear Energy Institute. Communications experts from academic institutions and advertising specialists from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide also attended.

The interactive workshops which succeeded in involving the participants in group activities were the main attraction of the conference. The workshop dedicated to "New communication tools", set up and moderated by the Young Generation Network debated the role of the blog in promoting messages and facilitating communications between co-workers and the organisation's external publics. Up to now, YGN and WiN have built personalized blogs, one of them being WiNfluence, as well as online groups. In the "Risk communications" workshop, working groups had to come up with a communication strategy in answer to a hypothetical risk scenario. The team representing Nuclearelectrica brought its contribution to the "Internal communication" workshop, presenting the results of the internal opinion poll carried out at SNN headquarters regarding communications, organizational culture, access to information and cooperation. The merits as well as our strategy for improving internal communication were acknowledged.

Pime 2008

The main innovation at this year's conference was the participant's possibility to decide the winner of the PIME Award for excellency in communications. More than half of the votes were received by the COVRA team from the Netherlands, whose project entitled "Safe is beautiful" was rewarded for the innovative way it had used art as a vehicle for connecting with its local and regional stakeholders. The storage of nuclear waste is as natural and safe as the storage of art masterpieces in a museum, according to the COVRA project.

The next edition of PIME will takeplace in the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Report from Nuclearelectrica, Romania

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