Press Release

Meeting Advances Dialogue on Nuclear Energy Among Governments, Experts, and the Public


Meeting hosted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in partnership with Nuclear Law Association and TERI University

NEW DELHI, INDIA | 30 JULY 2015 – In what ways should the risks and benefits of nuclear energy be communicated to the public? What is the responsibility of the government to raise public awareness of nuclear energy? How can civil society organizations and think tanks improve public understanding about nuclear energy? How can productive interactions between industry and the public serve to enhance and maintain safety? And what may nuclear newcomers learn from mature legacy countries on how to foster trust with the public on nuclear-related matters?

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with the Nuclear Law Association, India and TERI University, convened a three-day meeting from 13 July through 15 July 2015 to discuss these and other questions, and to review communication frameworks utilized in the nuclear energy context.

Invitees included government officials, academic scholars, industry representatives, policymakers, journalists, and civil society organizations of India, as well as nuclear experts from the United States, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Agnostic as to whether nuclear energy should be part of any nation’s energy portfolio, the meeting was designed to, among other objectives: facilitate the exchange of quality information about nuclear energy communications; address the theoretical and practical barriers to effective communications; compare communication frameworks currently in use; and consider differences in the approaches of legacy and newcomer nuclear countries.

Some recommendations from the meeting for improving communication among the government, the nuclear industry, and the public included:

  • the creation of a center of excellence in nuclear energy for scientists, social scientists, and communication experts to engage in cross-disciplinary research, distill best practices, and provide training to policymakers about nuclear-energy-related activities;
  • training of journalists on nuclear technology and evidence-based science reporting;
  • local initiatives to raise public awareness, especially in states with nuclear power plants, of the benefits and risks of nuclear energy; and
  • a forum to increase interdisciplinary engagements between various social science disciplines, communication experts, and the nuclear community.

The American Academy is planning to release, later this year, a publication that examines in depth the issues discussed in the meeting.

This meeting is part of the Global Nuclear Future (GNF) Initiative, which is a comprehensive interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-national project, distinct in bringing together diverse communities, including leading experts from academia, government, nongovernmental organizations, and the nuclear industry. The GNF Initiative is led by meeting participants Steven Miller (Harvard University) and Robert Rosner (Chicago University), with Scott Sagan (Stanford University). Its overarching goals are to identify paths that permit the peaceful use of nuclear power while minimizing the potential adverse consequences of the spread of inherently risky nuclear technology, and to engage with key constituencies—in particular in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East—whose choices and behavior will have a significant impact on the character of the international nuclear order.

Since 2009, Carnegie Corporation of New York has supported the GNF Initiative as it develops new scholarship focused on strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime; on addressing insider threats in nuclear security; and on managing the nuclear fuel cycle, including governance structures for regulating dual-use technology transfer. The American Academy is grateful for the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has contributed substantially to the success of the GNF project to date.

The meeting was convened with leadership from Mohit Abraham, Lawyer, Supreme Court of India and Governing Board Member, Nuclear Law Association, India; Zackory T. Burns, Hellman Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Francesca Giovannini, Senior Program Officer, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and M P Ram Mohan, Associate Professor, TERI University and President, Nuclear Law Association of India.

Selected participants included:

D Acharya, Chairman & Managing Director, Uranium Corporation of India ltd.

Mohammad Shawkat Akbar, Director, Nuclear Power and Energy Division, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission; Project Director, Construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (first phase) Project, Bangladesh

Kelle Barfield, Vice President, Integrated Communications, Entergy; Expert in Stakeholder Engagement, International Atomic Energy Agency; Former Chair, Industry Communications Council, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO); Co-author, INPO’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Internal Communication at Nuclear Power Stations, USA

R Bhattacharya, Vice Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

Ayhan Evrensel, Communication Advisor, Department of Nuclear Energy, IAEA

Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Heinz University Professor, Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary (DISA), Ministry of External Affairs, India

R B Grover, Vice Chancellor, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai; Homi Bhabha Chair Professor, Department of Atomic Energy, and Member, Atomic Energy Commission, India

S. Harikumar, Secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

D. M. Jagadeesh, Chief Engineer, BHAVINI, Kalpakkam

Mahesh Kamble, Assistant Professor, Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Media Development Foundation; Asian College of Journalism

Min Lee, Distinguished Professor, Department of Engineering and System Science,
Vice President and Chief of Staff, National Tsing Hua University

S K Malhotra, Distinguished Scientist, DAE, and Head, Public Awareness Division, Department of Atomic Energy

N R Madhava Menon, Chancellor, Guru Ghasidas Central University; Founder Vice Chancellor of National Law School of India University Bangalore, National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata and National Judicial Academy, Bhopal; Chairman, MILAT

Steven E. Miller, Director, International Security Program; Editor-in-Chief, International Security; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University; Co-Chair, Global Nuclear Future Initiative, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

A K Nema, Chief Engineer (Safeguards), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited

V S Ramamurthy, Emeritus Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies and Former Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies and Former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology

P B Rastogi, Advisor to Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

Robert Rosner, William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, and the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago; Co-Chair, Global Nuclear Future Initiative, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Leena Srivastava, Acting Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute; Executive Committee, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)

R.S. Sundar, Outstanding Scientist and Site Director, Kudankulam 1 and 2

Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire; Senior Fellow, Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University and Former Editor, The Hindu

Shiv Visvanathan, Professor and Vice Dean (Institution Building); Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Science, Society and Sustainability, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University


Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a learned society and independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research, which has resulted in influential reports like Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream, focuses on global security and energy; science and technology policy; higher education, the humanities, and the arts; and American institutions and the public good. The Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.

The Nuclear Law Association (NLA) was established in 2011 in New Delhi, India. The Association is a forum for the legal community to discuss issues relating to peaceful use of nuclear energy in India. NLA aims to promote knowledge sharing and influence policy formulation through seminars, research and outreach. NLA is conceived as a think tank and aims to be a center of excellence in nuclear energy law research.

The roots of TERI University can be traced back to 1998, when TERI School of Advanced Studies was established. In 1999, the university was granted "Deemed to be University" status by the University Grants Commission and notified via Ministry of Human Resources Development, Department of Education, Government of India. The School was subsequently renamed as the TERI University in October 2006. TERI University was conceived as a research university contributing to scientific and policy research in the realms of energy, environment, and sustainable development. Giving an importance to international perspectives in its programs, TERI University has entered into memorandums of understanding with several international universities aimed at facilitating the mutually beneficial exchange of students, faculty, knowledge, resources, and ideas.




Global Nuclear Future

Steven E. Miller, Robert Rosner, and Scott D. Sagan