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Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Communication

Introduction

The present communication plan is intended for use by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. In view of the proposed nuclear power plant to be constructed in the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, a comprehensive analysis of the context, stakeholders and communication strategies available has been undertaken. The unique challenges of communicating with the public regarding nuclear energy derive from the multifaceted nature of the issue. Nuclear energy touches many aspects of people’s lives – from their standard of living, to their health, individual income, environmental consciousness and opinions about nuclear proliferation.

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Thus there is an urgent need for a comprehensive and thoroughly planned communications strategy from the very beginning of a new nuclear project. Establishing and maintaining the public’s trust is instrumental in achieving approval by government bodies, and can best be achieved through openness and communication. As the International Atomic Energy Agency has stated, “if nuclear programmes are to develop beyond current levels, it is essential that there is a common understanding of the associated issues among all stakeholders; both those immediately affected by proposed or operating facilities and those who simply benefit from them indirectly” (2011, p.7). The present document will explore in detail the context of the project, the communication goals, the stakeholder groups to whom the messages must be communicated, and the methodology for doing so.

Topic and Thesis

The debate over the implementation of stakeholder engagement strategies, how they should be conducted, and whom they should target, is a continuous and dynamic one. Not only is it complex and challenging to determine how a communications plan can achieve its messaging goals, it is equally difficult to identify what those goals should be. The problem this research proposes to address is the identification and exploration of the main areas of consideration for a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy in the nuclear context. The most basic question that this study seeks to answer is “What is the communication approach to developing a stakeholder engagement strategy for a new nuclear power plant in the Western Region of the UAE?” The thesis of the study is that the most optimal approach to the strategy must be based on an interdisciplinary assessment of a variety of contributing factors, including current discourse on nuclear communications, up-to-date research on the future of alternative energy, the psychological element of stakeholder perceptions, and the basic tenets of project management.

Most, although not all, communications specialists agree that stakeholder identification, establishment of credibility and transparency are central elements to stakeholder engagement goals. However, amidst the recent increase in debate over the utility and socio-environmental acceptability of nuclear power, the question of how this issue is being addressed and the appropriateness of the communications approaches applied has become more pertinent than ever. If public support for a new nuclear power plant is to be achieved and maintained over the lifetime of the project, it is essential to understand the short- and long-term goals of the accompanying communications plan, the challenges that may arise, and the best methodology with which to formulate future actions.

In order to contextualize the subsequent theoretical considerations, the particulars of the proposed nuclear project, the region and the timeline are clarified. Following a precise definition of the research question the central argument of the study, the methodology followed and the framework with which data will be evaluated is described in greater detail. The subsequent discussion provides an overview of the recent policy recommendations made a series of authoritative bodies in the nuclear field, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a wide variety of other professional and academic literature. Other strategic considerations, mainly relating to the psychology of attitude, are discussed, and conclusions are drawn as regards the optimal approach to the stakeholder engagement strategy.

Context

Regional Information

The official language of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is Arabic, though English is widely spoken, particularly in the larger centres. There are three different types of Arabic spoken in contemporary Abu Dhabi: Classical Arabic, “which is not commonly spoken […] in everyday conversations”: literary or modern standard Arabic “is used in formal or business settings such as in the broadcast media or in governmental proceedings” and in the university context; and colloquial Arabic, which “combines some of the features of both Classical and Modern Arabic, but assumes regional nuances and is used by Arabs in everyday conversations” (Visit Abu Dhabi, 2012). The overall economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is estimated at US $187 billion (Maktoob News, 2011) and the main source of income are industry, which contributes 65.5%, construction, which comprises 11.5%, and financial services (Staff Report, 2009), which contribute the remaining 23.6% (AME Info, 2009).

Abu Dhabi is located at 24° 28′ 0″ North, 54° 22′ 0″ East, and is the largest of the seven emirates that constitute the UAE. To the west and south it borders on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while to the east it borders the Sultanate of Oman. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is 67,340 square kilometres, comprising 86.7% of the total area of the UAE, and it is subdivided into three regions: Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al Ain Municipality and Western Region Municipality.

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As regards the government, the “Supreme Council is the country’s top policy making body, comprising hereditary rulers from each of the seven emirates [… and] is responsible for developing and approving federal policies and laws that relate to education, foreign affairs and defence” (Visit Abu Dhabi, 2012). The president of the Supreme Council is Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the vice president is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Executive Council, chaired by His Highness Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, “oversees government agencies that administers various services [… including] commerce, economic development , […] health, […] information [and] utilities”, all of which are areas of relevance for the new nuclear project (Visit Abu Dhabi, 2012). Other important branches of the UAE government include the Federal Council of Ministers, the Federal Judiciary and the 40-member Federal National Council.

The Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) oversees all planning and public works projects in the three regions, in collaboration with Western Region Municipality. The DMA “contributes directly to the work of the Executive Council” in the following work areas: “planning and managing the infrastructure and assets; creating the ability for a large empowered private sector to play a role in the delivery of municipal services; fostering an optimized and transparent regulatory environment that enhances Abu Dhabi’s ability to attract local and foreign direct investment; contributing to the domestic security of infrastructure assets; [and] utilizing strong and diverse international relationships to provide for and improve municipal services within the Emirate”, among others (Department of Municipal Affairs, 2010).

The Research Design

The design section of a study should specify several things. First, the specific purposes of the research should be clarified, including an explanation of how the general research purposes and aims are operationalized into specific research questions (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007, p.81). The tools for addressing validity and reliability should be addressed, and the data necessary to answer the research question(s), as well as the sources of that data, should be clarified (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007, p.81).

Academic & Professional Interest of the Topic

The Academic interest of this project lies in the attempt to draw new connections between existing communications practices, new research in the psychology of attitude, the most recent findings regarding the future of alternative energy, and contextual considerations in the unique location of the Western Region. This is a unique approach that has not previously been adopted, and is thus both substantively and methodologically interesting from an academic perspective. The professional interest of this project is therefore equally compelling, not only for the author of this project but for other communications professionals as well. The findings of this paper will have real implications for communications strategies, and may also extend beyond the limited sphere of the nuclear energy industry, to include many other areas of practice.

Significance of the Research Project

It has been determined through the preliminary literature review that while the information available on actual policy recommendations abounds, there has been little discussion of the significance of those recommendations in the specific context of the UAE. A study that seeks to draw connections between the two is therefore believed to be of significance not only to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, but also represents a new contribution to communications theory. The research proposes to lay the groundwork for more detailed future studies of the trajectory of approaches to reasoning in the formulation of stakeholder engagement strategy, and will be constructive in determining the direction that future research should go.

Initial Questions and Objectives

The research questions must be clearly stated and directly linked to the stated objectives of the study (Odom, Brantlinger, Gersten, Horner, Thompson & Harris, 2004). The objective of this study is to identify and explore the main areas of consideration for a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy in the nuclear context. The main questions to be answered are as follows:

  1. What are the objectives of the communications strategy?
  2. What specific messages does the strategy seek to deliver to the stakeholder audience?
  3. How can the 100 year life cycle of the nuclear plant be broken down into stages, and what are the implications of those stages for the stakeholder engagement strategy?
  4. Who are the stakeholders? How can they be categorized and prioritized?
  5. What tools and techniques are most effective for each of the identified stakeholder groups?
  6. What psychology of attitude research may have direct implications for the effective management of the stakeholder engagement strategy?
  7. How can the stakeholder engagement strategy be effectively monitored in order to optimize its effectiveness over a long period of time?

Hypothesis 1: Transparency the core of communication in the Nuclear Energy Industry

The most basic question that this study seeks to answer is “What is the best approach to developing a stakeholder engagement strategy for a new nuclear power plant in the Western Region of the UAE?” The thesis of the study is that the most optimal approach to the strategy must be based on an interdisciplinary assessment of a variety of contributing factors, including current discourse on nuclear communications, up-to-date research on the future of alternative energy, the psychological element of stakeholder perceptions, and the basic tenets of project management.

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Testing this thesis requires the researcher to address a series of secondary questions. The first of such questions is what exactly the messaging of this communications strategy should address. This problem is addressed in section 5, entitled “Messages to Deliver”, and involves identification of all the positive elements of a new nuclear plant, and thus the desirability of such a project for various stakeholder groups. Subsequently, sections 6 and 7 of the research seek to identify what major theoretical currents and approaches have come to dominate present discourse on the issue of stakeholder engagement in the nuclear context.

By first reviewing policy recommendations from government, international regulators, private industry and academia, the research then maps the present level of discourse on stakeholder engagement strategy. This allows for a more informed decision as to how to best deliver the messages identified in the preceding section. The study then seeks to identify the implications and applications of those recommendations in the unique context of the new nuclear power plant to be constructed in the Western Region of the UAE by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation by identifying specific groups of stakeholders, and the tools or techniques that are most appropriate for engaging those groups. The next secondary question that the research seeks to answer is the identification of any relevant research in the psychology of attitude that may have significant bearing on the optimal management of the stakeholder engagement strategy.

Hypothesis 2: Nuclear Energy framed as a Necessity rather than an Alternative Method of Energy Production

In this second hypothesis what is explored is how the adoption of nuclear power becomes more likely if it is framed in the context of a necessity connected with beneficial community effects and the desire for greater economic activity. It is the assumption of this study that one of main reasons why nuclear energy sometimes receives a considerable degree of negative public feedback is due to it being framed in the context of an alternative form of energy. The inherent problem with the message that is being communicated when utilizing this particular method of communication is that it presents the notion that there may be other forms of energy which could be possibly utilized.

Such an idea is further reinforced by the general public perception surrounding the various dangers connected to radiation and as such shows how the way in which a particular idea is presented creates a distinct variation in its overall level of acceptability. Evidence of this can be seen in the method in which the idea of nuclear energy was communicated to the American people in the pre-1990s era wherein nuclear energy was presented as a necessary component of America’s industrial base. The end result can be seen in the present wherein nuclear energy has become a widely accepted and utilized method of energy production within the U.S. This shows how effective arguments framed within the context of necessity are in enabling a greater degree of public acceptability. It is based on this that this study will explore the various benefits connected to nuclear power and will attempt to show how to frame it within the context of a necessity rather than an alternative.

Hypothesis 3 Ethics and Transparency as the Cornerstones of Public Acceptability

Another aspect that will be explored in this paper is the correlation between ethics and transparency within the nuclear energy industry and how this correlates into a greater degree of public acceptability for nuclear energy. What must be understood is that transparency within the nuclear energy industry also requires a significant degree of ethics and corporate social responsibility. Various studies have shown that by combining the two within a program that provides information to the public and shows its dedication towards ethical methods of operation, this results in a far greater degree of public acceptance towards particular industries. Such a method of operation is featured prominently in many U.S. based Fortune 500 companies since it was seen that consumer patronage for particular types of products was inherently connected to the way in which buyers viewed the methods of operation of a company. As such, this paper will also explore the necessity of standards in ethics within the nuclear energy industry and how this correlates into a method of communication that results in a far greater degree of acceptance for this particular method of energy production within the context of the U.A.E

Hypothesis 4 Ideologies and how they can be Utilized as a Communication Strategy to Shape Public Opinion

The last hypothesis of this paper is the assumption that ideologies based on a distinct form of ethos can be utilized in order to positively influence public opinion towards the use of nuclear energy within the case of the U.A.E. At the present, the current climate towards the use of nuclear energy is uncertain due to the Fukushima-daichi nuclear disaster which called into question the safety of nuclear power. As seen in the case of Kuwait (which was close to , previously positive sentiments towards the use of nuclear energy have quickly turned into negative outlooks due to the potential radiation risks that this particular method of power generation causes.

It is based on this that this papers assumes that in order to change public opinion towards a positive acceptance of nuclear energy, what is needed is the creation of a particular type of ideology based on a distinct type of ethos so as to influence public opinion within the U.A.E towards a train of thought that is more conducive towards the implementation of nuclear energy within the region. What must be understood is that an ethos is not something that is inherent but rather something that has been created and manufactured with a surface image in order to fulfill a particular purpose. It is often utilized as a method of convincing people or justifying a particular set of actions and as such it is crafted in such a way so as to be convincing, believable and thus adaptable. From this particular perspective this study will attempt to explore how ideologies are created, what methods are utilized in their implementation and the means by which it can be implemented effectively within the U.A.E

How does ENEC Communicate?

The Challenges of Communication

The different tools and techniques of communication to be used by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation have to be implemented in the framework of a policy of global communication, continuously, and with the objective to ensure the best image possible to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.

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Communication Objectives

The general objectives of communications and engagement plans for nuclear plant development, safety and education are:

  1. to improve safety by providing information about nuclear technologies and educating people on how to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation;
  2. to learn from society about their concerns, and to address these concerns
  3. to keep society informed about the safety standards that are set and how they are enforced;
  4. to maintain social trust and confidence that nuclear technology is being operated at appropriate safety standards; and
  5. to facilitate the decision
making process on nuclear matters by presenting factual and balanced information. (IAEA, 1999)

The goal of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace health and prosperity in the UAE. The primary objective of the engagement strategy is to communicate this fact.

Another pressing objective of the communication plan is the accumulation and maintenance of stakeholder confidence in this new project, which will play an important role in sustained government support. “Governmental support is often dependent on stakeholder confidence, as national governments generally do not press ahead with nuclear programmes in the face of significant public opposition. Government support can be sustained through a positive and supportive political atmosphere, which includes appropriate stakeholder involvement” (IAEA, 2007). Considerable effort will be entailed in achieving high levels of public engagement, since “public expectations regarding communication by both operating organizations and regulators have significantly increased during the last 20 years” (IAEA, 2011, p.5).

The final purpose of communication with stakeholders is to satisfy international treaty requirements. The United Arab Emirates became a member state of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1976 (IAEA, 2012). As such, the country is bound by international treaty to respect certain stakeholder engagement requirements codified in a series of treaties, including Aarhus, Espoo and EUARTOM. Although the UAE is not a signatory to any of these treaties (UN, 2012a; UN, 2012b; Europa, 2012), they are nevertheless bound by the responsibilities of neighbouring countries included in those instruments. Those responsibilities include “stakeholder involvement, [which] is now a mandatory component of […] the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA)” to which development of any major national policy, including development of a nuclear programme is subject (IAEA, 2011, p.8).

Transparency the core of communication in the nuclear energy industry

Introduction: Pollution, Energy Production and the Growing Population of the U.A.E

As population centers continue to grow both in technological sophistication and population density so to do the energy demands they place on a center’s energy infrastructure. Based on current estimates of the electrical use per household it has been shown that on average a home/apartment in the U.A.E spends roughly $1,500 per year on electricity consumption with an average daily use of 17 to 31 kWhs (Kilowatt-hours) per day or 8250 kWh per annum. This results in the production of 8 tones of carbon pollution per household created each year due to the fact that 90% of in the U.A.E’s energy needs are met through the use of fossil fuel burning power plants. With a population density of 8,000,000 this represents literally billions of tones of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere on a yearly basis. One factor to consider when taking such figures into consideration is the fact that in the U.A.E’s population is estimated to grow to at least 6 million by 2035 resulting in an even greater strain on the city’s resource infrastructure.

This means that the use of utilities such as electricity will continue to grow along with the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere which will reach astronomical rates due to the increase in domestic consumption. What must first be understood is that population density as well as the industrial infrastructure within a given country directly affects the consumption of electricity. The greater the population density within a country the higher the likelihood is of larger factory complexes existing in a certain area which directly contributes to the rising rate in energy consumption. The inherent problem with such a situation is that the continued growth of the region does not match the energy production capabilities of the various fossil fuel power plants with expansions needed on their energy capacity on a yearly basis. It must also be mentioned that fossil fuels are a finite resource that can and will disappear within a few decades at the current rate of consumption both within the U.A.E and the greater global population.

Since 90% of in the U.A.E’s power originates directly from fossil fuel resources this means that the current energy infrastructure that feeds into Sydney’s power grid is unsustainable in the long run as a result of dwindling fossil fuel resources. Not only that, as energy demands grow so too will the demand for such resources, the inherent problem with this is that the price of finite resources continues to increase over time as demand grows. This means that domestic households within in the U.A.E will eventually find themselves facing a situation where they will pay an increasing higher price for their electricity needs. Another factor that contributes to this problem is the fact that as populations grow so to do the number of cars and public transportation vehicles that are utilized within the in the U.A.E.

While the city doesn’t have the same traffic problems as compared to other major metropolitan areas such as New York or Manila the fact remains that more cars equates into a greater degree of fuel consumption which will further heighten a potential energy crisis if it does occur. Environmental considerations must also be taken into account since if the U.A.E tries to supplement the growing energy demand of its populace through the continued expansion of fossil fuel power plants this may very likely cause various negative environmental reactions associated with pollution and climate change. The inherent problem in utilizing fossil fuel burning power plants is the resulting carbon dioxide waste that gets expelled into the atmosphere. It must be noted that increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere especially in areas where there are few natural ways for the resulting gases to be absorbed results in a significant accumulation in the air for quite some time which has the potential to cause various respiratory diseases.

China which possesses one of the world’s most extensive power grids which utilizes dozens of fossil fuel burning power plants has seen a rise in respiratory diseases as the amount of smog in the air continues to accumulate. Based on this it can be expected that a shift will start wherein cities within the U.A.E will start to pour resources into alternative energy technologies in order to supplement their energy infrastructure both for domestic home consumption and use in automobiles. As such what is required in the case of the U.A.E is to invest in an alternative form of energy so as to ensure that the region does not suffer from either a future energy crisis due to a lack of fuel or a polluted atmosphere as a result of unmitigated emissions from various power plants. In the case of the U.A.E one possible method of resolving the unsustainable energy scenario that it is currently experiencing is to adopt the use of nuclear energy powered homes in order to effectively lessen the dependence of the U.A.E on fossil fuel energy sources.

How nuclear energy affects the community?

What must first be understood is that population density as well as the industrial infrastructure within a given country directly affects the consumption of electricity within it. The greater the population density within a country the higher the likelihood is of larger factory complexes or complex architectural infrastructure existing in a certain area which directly contributes to the rising rate in energy consumption. The U.A.E is not exempt from such a state of affairs as seen in the case of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar wherein the sheer amount of infrastructure development and the population boom within such states have significantly strained the local power plants and have actually necessitated that need for even more to be constructed.

Unfortunately the primary method of energy production within the region has been through the use of fossil fuel power plants. They have been a reliable and proven form of energy production, however, the sheer amount of carbon dioxide emissions that have been linked to their usage are cited as being one of the primary causes of global warming as well as being the origin of a variety of lung related diseases for communities within the regions where power plants are located. With energy consumption expected to increase within the coming decades within the U.A.E and various countries within the Middle East as direct result of continued infrastructure development, this would require such countries to supplement their current energy infrastructure with even more fossil fuel power plants.

The inherent problem with this is that the price of finite resources continues to increase over time as demand grows. There will eventually come a time where the region will have to deal with the dwindling supply of fossil fuels and the after effects they cause on the environment as well as local populations. Based on this, it can be expected that a shift will start to occur wherein regional governments within the U.A.E and the Middle East will start to pour resources into alternative energy technologies in order to supplement their energy infrastructure in an attempt to mitigate the growing need for electricity while at the same time address environmental and community related issues. What this means for the regional economy of the Middle East is that this heralds the start of a trend leaning towards alternative energy resources and environmental stewardship that specializes solely in environmentally sustainable practices.

Concerns Regarding Radiation

One of the main issues that affect communities in regards to the establishment of nuclear power plants within certain areas are the popular culture perceptions regarding nuclear energy and how it could potentially adversely impact people living near or within the general area of a nuclear power plant. This is not without precedent, concerns regarding the safety of nuclear power has prompted the closure of several nuclear power plants within Japan due partial meltdown of the Fukushima-daichi nuclear power plant while in the case of the Philippines the Bataan nuclear power plant which was built more than 15 years ago was never allowed to be operational by members of the surrounding community due to radiation concerns despite the fact that the facilities were already completed and all that was needed was to put the nuclear fuel rods in.

There have also been similar oppositions to nuclear power seen in various countries around the world with the single overarching theme of radiation as a potential detriment to their daily live being the primarily rallying call for communities to stop nuclear power plants from being established nearby. What must be understood though is that while it may be true that radiation should be a cause for concern, the fact is that all nuclear power plants have a variety of redundancy measures put in place in order to ensure that radiation does not escape into the outside environment. Such systems consist of concrete walls which are several inches thick and could receive a direct impact a jet plan and not lose their structural integrity, multiple cooling systems both within and outside the reactor in order facilitate effective cooling solutions and lastly, the use of a variety of monitoring systems that constantly keep the plan personnel updated regarding the status of the reactor.

Despite such contingency measures in place, general public opinion in their construction is still largely at an impasse. An examination of general public perception within the U.A.E regarding nuclear energy is that most individuals deem it a necessary and effective means of supplying the energy needs of the region well into the future. The inherent problem though is the fact that the same sentiment existed in the Philippines during the construction of the Bataan nuclear facility as well as in Japan prior to the Fukushima-daichi nuclear meltdown. Public opinion is usually fickle and, as such, positive public sentiments that exist at the present may change significantly within the near future. Thus, the issue of the various concerns regarding the establishment of nuclear reactors can be considered an issue of communication and education wherein it is necessary to communicate the proper message regarding the establishment of nuclear reactors and to educate people that the various concerns they may have over the establishment of a nuclear facility within their immediate area is not a cause for overt concern.

Beneficial Effects to the Community

One of the main beneficial effects of nuclear power on the local community is the creation of a cheap and reliable energy source. It is usually the case that while nuclear power plants have a high initial cost due to the complexities in their construction, however, they make up for it through the sheer amount of energy produced at a relatively low cost. This in turn greatly benefits members of the local community in terms of lowered energy cost as well as reassurance that the electricity in their homes will not be cut off all of a sudden due to a lack of production capacity. It must also be noted that the expansion and development of any region’s industrial and urban infrastructure is inherently connected to the amount production capabilities of its energy infrastructure. As it can be seen in the case of Egypt, rapid expansion without a sufficient means of energy production can and will result in frequent blackouts.

This can in effect cripple the industrialization and urbanization of various regions within the U.A.E. and is indicative of the necessity of the technology in the plan of the region to create an urban infrastructure to attract tourism and businesses. It must also be noted that another beneficial byproduct of a strong energy infrastructure based on nuclear energy is a subsequent increase in jobs as a direct result of rapid industrialization. As it was mentioned earlier, the level of industrialization and modernization within a particular region is inherently dependent on the energy infrastructure that is present that can supply enough power for industrial processes. When such an infrastructure is present this usually creates more jobs and opportunities for members of the local community due to the proliferation of businesses that seek to take advantage of a stable source of energy and labor. Such a case was seen during the heyday of America’s automobile industry wherein various automobile manufacturers situated their factories in Detroit and in various areas along America’s “rust belt” due to the readily available supplies of energy from the local power plants.

Nuclear energy as alternative energy (security, safety, how?)

Economic Viability

The main issue with renewable energy resources is that they are as of yet an unreliable form of main energy generation for a city. There are three reasons behind this: renewable energy resources from a commercial energy standpoint are as of yet an unproven method of reliable energy production, the means by which renewable energy is produced requires a high initial startup cost and finally in terms of overall reliability only geothermal plants or hydroelectric dams are the only proven reliable sources of renewable energy both of which cannot be used in the U.A.E due to the overall lack of the necessary areas to actually create them. Commercially speaking when comparing fossil fuel burning power plants to either solar powered arrays or wind turbines most energy producers would choose to construct a fossil fuel burning plant rather than a renewable energy production site.

The reasoning behind this is simple, fossil fuel power plants simply require less space and produce more power compared to solar or wind generated energy sources. In order to prove this point the example of Egypt and its attempt at utilizing renewable energy resources should prove to be an adequate example. In its attempt to expand into the renewable energy industry in order to supply an energy starved populace with more electricity, Egypt introduced both solar and wind energy into its electricity producing infrastructure. The result was the wind turbine installations in the Red Sea produced only 230 MW while the solar energy array only produced 30 MW. When taking into consideration the fact that Egypt requires 36GW within the next 10 years in order to keep up with demand indicates that renewable energy technologies at the present currently do not have the needed capacity to keep up with an ever increasing demand for electricity.

One alternative power source that is reliable and is not dependent on external factors such as the sun or the wind is the use of nuclear power. Nuclear power reactors are a proven technology utilized in the U.S., Japan as well as several 1st world countries. One of its advantages is that it is able to function at the fraction of the cost of fossil fuel plants, can produce more electricity and utilizes a fuel source that is not expended easily. The inherent problem with nuclear power plants, as seen in the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, is the fact that should anything go wrong the potential problems could become disastrous. The recent nuclear scare that happened in Japan as a result of the failure of the cooling systems of a nuclear power plant is still firmly embedded in the consciousness of various global populations and as such calls into question the safety of nuclear power.

As such, attempts to build a nuclear reactor anywhere near a city within the U.A.E to provide power to the populace is expected to receive harsh criticism and protests from the local population. Based on current estimates of the amount of energy needed by the region within the next 5 to 10 years or so, it can be expected that the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere will increase as a result if the U.A.E compensates for this need by creating more fossil fuel burning power plants. The reason why this paper suggests that the U.A.E government will likely turn towards the building of nuclear power plants is due to their current economic viability in the eyes of the government. Should technologies such as nuclear power based systems be proven to be economically viable within the next few years then it is possible that the government may choose to actively participate in its proliferation. Unfortunately, as of yet the technology still requires a significant start up cost for domestic household utilization and it is due to this that it can be expected that more fossil fuel power plants will be created within the next few years in order to meet demand based on the U.A.E’s predilection towards fossil fuel utilization.

The Problem of Overpopulation

The main issue that really has to be addressed is the continued expansion of the population of the U.A.E and how this will impact the energy infrastructure of the region in the future. The inherent problem with the concept of overpopulation is the fact that the finite resources available in the region cannot hope to support the considerable expansion of local population in the coming years. The U.A.E itself is a closed off ecosystem with no resources entering into it, as such its surface can only support a certain population before the ecosystem inevitably collapses in on itself as a result of a severe strain on the region’s natural and ecological resources.

Nature itself has a certain system of prevention in place that prevents populations from growing beyond their means due to the predator and prey dynamic, such a case though does not exist in the U.A.E and this in turn creates a situation where the continued population expansion will limit the ability of the government to effectively meet all the needs of the people. It is this exponential expansion that I believe is at the heart of today’s problems involving energy resources. While there are initiatives towards conservation and the use of renewable energy resources through energy transition the fact remains that such initiatives will become totally useless in the face of a growing human population that has already exceeded the means by which the current energy infrastructure can support it.

Viability of Alternative Energy Resources

When looking at the current rate of consumption versus actual oil reserves left within the U.A.E it is obvious that this current method of utilities production is unsustainable in the long run and that other methods need to be devised in order to resolve it. Based on this fact, this paper assumes that the best means of supplying the U.A.E with enough electricity in the future is to utilize alternative power sources such as nuclear, solar or wind power sources. The only inherent problem though with utilizing renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power is that they are not as reliable compared to fossil fuel burning plants. Solar energy is dependent on the sun, while the U.A.E has more than enough free space to establish a solar array the fact remains that energy production cannot be done when there is no sunlight, as such, solar power has a distinct limitation in that it cannot provide electricity 24 hours a day.

On the other hand wind power is not on a set schedule compared to solar power and can run at any time of day or night however wind power as a source of electricity is subject to a certain degree of unpredictability since there is no definite assurance that air currents will blow in a certain spot on a constant basis. One alternative power source that is reliable and is not dependent on external factors such as the sun or the wind is the use of nuclear power. Nuclear power reactors are a proven technology utilized in the U.S., Japan as well as several 1st world countries. One of its advantages is that it is able to function at the fraction of the cost of fossil fuel plants, can produce more electricity and utilizes a fuel source that is not expended easily. Based on the given data this study recommends that the best way to facilitate the effective production of electricity in the U.A.E in a more efficient and cost effective manner would be to switch to nuclear power plants as a means of energy production.

Issues regarding potential Ecosystem Destruction

Ecosystems in general act as filters so to speak of the environment, various cities in China, Japan, the U.S. and the Philippines actually include certain ecosystems into city planning documents since such systems act as “lungs” for the city. With the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air as a result of human activities there is a definite need to help resolve this issue by continuing to develop and expand present day ecosystems in order to control the excess levels of CO2. Ecosystems that have been degraded by human activity need to be restored to their former glory lest humanity pay the price for such actions.

Evidence of landslides in China, the Philippines and several South American countries show the result of unmitigated environmental deterioration. Several ecosystems within those areas actually had the function of acting as reservoirs for rain water and to keep the ground stable. Once they disappeared there was nothing to hinder the water from eroding the surrounding land and cause landslides. Such occurrences are but a small example of what can happen should damaged ecosystems be left in their current state. In terms of who should pay for the reconstruction of ecosystems, local and national governments should be the ones to take care of it using taxes to help revive dead or dying ecosystems within a general area.

Security

Another of the concerns in relation to the issue of nuclear energy in the case of the U.A.E is the concept of security and how the unique socio-political issues that are attributed to the region create a unique security dilemma that needs to be addressed. First and foremost, it must be noted that while the U.A.E is technically within the Middle East, it is in no shape or form the same as Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran which are popular segments on the news due to such areas being the hotbeds of terrorist activity. On the other hand, by virtue of its location this still creates a unique security dilemma due to the possibility of terrorists attacking the facility, getting nuclear material and utilizing it to harm concentrated population centers. What must first be understood is that most nuclear facilities have extensive security systems in place to prevent the potential seizure of nuclear materials by terrorist forces. This comes in the form of multiple checkpoints, surveillance systems, as well as blast doors that could withstand a direct hit from a bomb and not have a scratch on them.

Furthermore, it takes specialized equipment to even create the necessary materials for a nuclear bomb which most nuclear power generation facilities lack due to the inherent differences in the systems and materials used for nuclear power generation and those used in ballistic missiles. While there are also issues related to the potential destruction of the facility through a nuclear meltdown instigated by a terrorist attack, such an event is highly unlikely due to the multiple redundancy systems within a facility, the fact that the control room of the nuclear reactor is heavily shielded by several metric tons of concrete and steel and the fact that the nuclear core of the facility is comparable to a bank vault with several feet of steel and concrete between it and the outside world. This makes it virtually impossible for any terrorist attack on a facility to succeed due to the sheer amount of backup systems, security measures and the design of the facility itself which was meant to contain possible meltdowns in the event of a potential core breach. Based on all the facts that have been presented it becomes obvious that in terms of security issues there is little to be concerned of in the case of establishing a nuclear power plants in the U.A.E.

Nuclear power plants as the only economically viable large-scale alternative for electricity production in the U.A.E

An analysis of data obtained on the amount of oil consumed by the U.A.E in 2005 reveals that in order to meet its fuel needs it consumed 350 million barrels of oil in that year or roughly 0.411 M-boe/ d (fraction of million barrels per day). Estimates show that if continuing trends in fuel consumption prevail then the amount of oil consumed by 2015 will be 450.2 million barrels per year, 560 million barrels by 2025 and finally 820.3 million barrels by 2035. As such a shift toward the production of electricity through nuclear fuel presents itself as a viable method of saving a large amount of the oil produced which in turn can be sold in order to improve the economy of the various countries within the U.A.E. An examination of local power plants in the U.A.E reveals that on average the 5 main power stations in the country have the capacity to produce 13.1 GW of electricity for consumption, this is based on data gathered in 2008 and does not take into account subsequent changes made to increase power output.

Based on the gathered data nuclear power plants (NPP) would be a viable option to consider as a means of expanding the current energy producing capabilities of the U.A.E. Not only can NPP’s produce the amount of electricity needed they can do so at a fraction of the cost associated with fossil fuel burning plants. On average a single fossil fuel power plant can go through several thousand barrels of oil in a single day, NPPs on the other hand use nuclear fuel rods which can last several years and are relatively inexpensive when compared to costs of oil. While there are concerns regarding the possibility of meltdowns and radiation poisoning most NPPs have several backup systems to prevent this and so far in the history of the technology only 3 incidences of a nuclear meltdown have occurred and in all cases it was usually due to human error and not a failure of the technology itself. Daily operations at an NPP are not as polluting compared to the emissions of fossil fuel burning power plants. The steam seen being emitted by various NPPs is merely evaporated water and does not truly present a threat to the environment.

As such as far as emissions are concerned nuclear technology is a far cleaner method of energy production. As for its ability to produce electricity, a single nuclear reactor (depending on the size and scale) can rival and exceed the energy producing capabilities of several fossil fuel plant and the amount of energy loss is also minimized due to the overall design of the energy collection system. An examination of the current steam turbine systems in the U.A.E reveals that each has a capacity of 300 MW (Megawatts) each with new facilities planned to have steam turbines with capacities easily reaching 500 MW or more (possibly 600 to 700 MW) depending on the method of operation. The reason why such data is important to take note of is that as mentioned earlier a single nuclear power plant depending on the scale can easily surpass the power generation capabilities of several fossil fuel power plants however the problem with this is even though an NPP can generate that much power the power stations and power grids utilized by the U.A.E can only take a certain amount of voltage before they are subsequently destroyed.

If an NPP is created and connected to the power grid with a power generating capacity exceeding what the grid is normally used to the effects are usually disastrous as power stations not used to the higher power supply overload as a result. Based on this it is recommended that the AP600 NPP be utilized rather than the AP1000. The reasoning behind this is twofold: first the AP600 which has a nominal power generation capacity of 600 MW is more compatible with the expected U.A.E electric system in the next few years with a capacity of 18 GW (Gigawatts). Not only that, the AP600 NPP system is a commercially available pressurized water reactor as such private companies such GE or Mitsubishi Heavy Industries can be brought in to bid on the project thus lowering the costs as compared to building a reactor that has to be custom designed to fit a specific purpose. Also of note is the fact that since the U.A.E combines both power generation and desalination processes in its power production facilities the AP 600 NPP is actually compatible with the MED, MSF or TVC desalinating units which can run of thermal energy produced by the AP 600.

This would result in a much lower overall cost for desalinating water since the process can be combined with energy generating capacity of the reactor. While stronger reactors area available such as the AP 1000 which can generate over 1000 MW of power such reactors are more suited towards electric grids of 27 GW, 35 GW or greater such as what can be found in the U.S. Based on the data this study assumes that should an NPP be built it is likely that an AP 600 will be utilized with a 600 MW capacity for energy production. In terms of the area needed for this solution an obvious choice would be any area located directly beside the U.A.E coastline where water can be easily extracted for both desalination and to cool the reactor during emergencies. Suffice it to say, so long as competent individuals are at the helm of the controls most nuclear reactors are rather safe and are a stable and efficient means of energy production. Finally in terms of production an NPP built in the U.A.E should have a minimum capacity of 600 MW during the initial phase of operation with additional capacities being added on as the technology continues to prove itself.

Understanding the Implementation of Nuclear Energy as an Alternative Form of Energy in the Middle East: the case of Kuwait

In order to understand how nuclear energy can be applied in the case of the U.A.E as a whole, it is necessary to examine a similar instance of an attempt at nuclear energy within another Middle East country and analyze the various justifications behind its implementation, why it did not push through and how this will subsequently impact the decision to either utilize nuclear energy within the U.A.E or not. At the present nearly 20% of Kuwait’s entire oil production goes immediately towards supplying its various power plants into order to meet the energy requirements of its populace.

The inherent problem with this lies with the fact that the oil reserves in Kuwait are a finite resource and eventually with the increased demand for energy this resource will be consumed that much faster. When examining the various factors involved it can be seen that they are closely similarly to current state of the U.A.E especially when you factor in the increasing amounts of industrialization within Kuwait which has increased the need for more electricity. Based on this dilemma this section of the paper tackles the facts behind the current energy consumption of Kuwait, the various justifications for the use of nuclear power and why it was not implemented in the end despite the various advantages behind it.

Introduction

In his paper detailing energy consumption in Kuwait, Alotaibi indicates that based on 2005 estimates of the current oil and gas reserves in Kuwait, only 100 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of gas are left. While various experts are contending on the actual size of reserves stating that they are far smaller than what they actually appear to be, the fact remains that on a daily basis 2.7 million barrels are produced from a supply that is not self-replenishing. It is estimated that within the next 50 years the oil reserves of Kuwait will have been exhausted which presents a problem for a country that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels as a means to power its rapidly expanding economic and industrial infrastructure as well as desalinate much needed drinking water. Again, it must be emphasized that when comparing the utilization of energy within Kuwait and that of the U.A.E they are once more similar in both the origin of the energy and its subsequent usage as seen in the case of its use in desalination plants and for supplying energy to their respective industrial infrastructures. The power generation sector in Kuwait is unique in that the power plants produce not only electricity but desalinates water as well. The current process utilized by the plants is actually highly inefficient with the desalination process utilizing the multistage flash process (MSF) consuming 20kWh/m3 as compared to the traditional reverse osmosis method which only consumes 5 kWh/m3.

Environmental Issues

The inherent problem in utilizing fossil fuel burning power plants is the resulting carbon dioxide waste that gets expelled into the atmosphere. It must be noted that increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere especially in areas where there are few natural ways for the resulting gases to be absorbed results in a significant accumulation in the air for quite some time which has the potential to cause various respiratory diseases. China which possesses one of the world’s most extensive power grids which utilizes dozens of fossil fuel burning power plants has seen a rise in respiratory diseases as the amount of smog in the air continues to accumulate.

An examination of the current amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere by 2010 reveals that 25000 metric tons of carbon emission gas was released by various sources into the atmosphere. This number is a combination of both emissions from motor vehicles as well as those coming from fossil fuel burning power plants. Based on current estimates of the amount of energy needed by the country within the next 5 to 10 years or so it can be expected that the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere will increase as a result if the country compensates for this need by creating more fossil fuel burning power plants. In terms of the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere both solar and wind turbine facilities have next to no carbon footprint due to the fact they do not produce any CO2 emissions.

Alternative Energy Sources for Kuwait

The main issue with renewable energy resources is that they are as of yet an unreliable form of main energy generation for a country. There are three reasons behind this: renewable energy resources from a commercial energy standpoint are as of yet an unproven method of reliable energy production, the means by which renewable energy is produced requires a high initial startup cot and finally in terms of overall reliability only geothermal plants or hydroelectric dams are the only proven reliable sources of renewable energy both of which cannot be used in Kuwait due to the overall lack of the necessary areas to actually create them. Commercially speaking when comparing fossil fuel burning power plants to either solar powered arrays or wind turbines most energy producers would choose to construct a fossil fuel burning plant rather than a renewable energy production site.

The reasoning behind this is simple, fossil fuel power plants simply require less space and produce more power compared to solar or wind generated energy sources. In order to prove this point the example of Egypt and its attempt at utilizing renewable energy resources should prove to be an adequate example. In its attempt to expand into the renewable energy industry in order to supply energy starved populace with more electricity Egypt introduced both solar and wind energy into its electricity producing infrastructure. The result was the wind turbine installations in the Red Sea producing only 230 MW while the solar energy array only produced 30 MW. When taking into consideration the fact that Egypt requires 36GW within the next 10 years in order to keep up with demand indicates that renewable energy resources currently do not have the needed capacity to keep up with an ever increasing demand for electricity.

Impact of the Fukushima-daichi Nuclear Meltdown on Public Opinion

Despite the necessity of establishing a nuclear power plant in Kuwait, a large percentage of the general public in effect rallied against its implementation due to the meltdown of the Fukushima-daichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Fears related to genetic mutations brought about through exposure to nuclear radiation as well as the possibility of death due to radiation poisoning created a substantial degree of apprehension among members of the general public which had previously supported the efforts to establishing nuclear energy production within the country in order to address the energy crisis within Kuwait. As it was mentioned earlier, the Kuwait has a substantial energy problem in that the expansion of the country’s industrial and urban infrastructure has in effect placed a substantial strain on the current energy production infrastructure within the country.

This resulted in numerous blackouts and increased energy costs which created substantial discontent among members of the general population. Initially, when it was proposed by the Kuwaiti government that a nuclear power plant was to be created in order to fulfill the energy needs of the country most people within Kuwait backed the project due to the necessity of a power source that could adequately meet the needs of the local population. Unfortunately in the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan and the subsequent nuclear meltdown that followed, public opinion did an abrupt 360 degree turn against the creation of nuclear power plant within Kuwait due to the potential risks and as a result the possibility of establishing a nuclear power generation facility within the country has been postponed.

How does this Impact the U.A.E?

When examining the case of Kuwait it can be seen that the country itself can be considered a microcosm of what is happening in the U.A.E at the present since both entities are impact by the various nuances of their region and the necessity of addressing the power needs of a rapidly expanding urban and industrial sector. In fact the similarity of both entities can even be seen in the general willingness of the local population of the population of the U.A.E during a 2010 survey towards the establishment of several nuclear power plants within the region in order to address the future energy needs of the populace.

While there have yet to be surveys to examine the present day reaction of the populace towards the use of nuclear energy in a post-Fukushima-daichi nuclear meltdown era, it can be assumed that the same abrupt turnaround seen in the case of Kuwait may also happen in the U.A.E which would in effect prevent any form of nuclear based energy from being implemented within the region. The actions of the local populace within Kuwait when it comes to the case of establishing nuclear power within the country can be described as a form of irrational exuberance wherein their beliefs are based on the actions of other people despite scientific data and common sense showing an entirely different outcome than the one that is expected. For example, there is no risk for either a tsunami or an earthquake impacting Kuwait due to its geographic position yet despite this obvious fact that the local populace is still apprehensive due to the potential for a nuclear meltdown to occur. This same irrational behavior may manifest itself in the case of the people of the U.A.E and as such is indicative of the need to establishment some form of communication based approach to assuage the worries and concerns that may potentially occur.

Conclusion

Based on all the evidence presented the reason why nuclear power was chosen as a viable means of energy production in Kuwait is based on the fact that it does not rely on oil, it does not release carbon emissions into the air and it is a viable means of energy production that is comparatively cheaper to other alternatives. While there are various arguments against its usage such as disposing of spent nuclear fuel rods and the possible threat of a nuclear meltdown as a result of user error the fact remains that on average NPPs are actually quite safe. Unfortunately one of the barriers in establishing this particular method of energy production is not the inherent cost but rather the history of the region. The Middle East has the unfortunate distinction of being called an unstable region where terrorists are located.

While such claims are based on unfounded and often times preposterous claims the fact remains that building nuclear reactors is strictly regulated by an international body. The political ramifications alone would cause the project to be mired in political red tape and as such it is to be expected that an NPP will not be built without some sort of obstacle presenting itself. It can thus be concluded from the various facts and arguments presented that there is a still a degree of apprehension over the implementation of nuclear energy as a viable method of energy production, however, as it can be seen based on the information presented regarding the inherent limitations of oil as a source of energy, the utilization of nuclear power in the near future seems to be a necessity given the need to supply power for the continued growth and development of the region.

Communicating About Nuclear Energy

One of the main issues in the post Fukushima nuclear energy environment is how the concept of nuclear energy is communicated and interpreted by the general population. As seen in the case of Kuwait, the local population interpreted the event in Fukushima as being attributable to all instances involving nuclear power and as a result prevented the subsequent development of nuclear power within the country. Further examination of how this occurred reveals that it was to a certain extent the fault of the media in that the “hype” generated as a direct result of the disaster overshadowed the general safety that most nuclear facilities have. In fact, when examining the various media and communication strategies that were put in place during and following the disaster most of the information was largely negative and emphasized the danger of nuclear energy without sufficiently expounding on the inherent benefits and how, in most cases, nuclear power is a boon for local economies. Thus, communication strategies involving the nuclear power in the post Fukushima era need to address two areas of concern: the first being the general uncertainty surrounding the issue of nuclear energy and issues related to transparency so as to enable people to better understand the processes involved and how they can benefit from them.

Issue of Transparency

One of issues apparent during the Fukushima-daichi nuclear disaster was a lack of transparency from the government in relation to communicating just how bad the disaster was. Early on the severity of the issue was not at all emphasized and it was even stated that everything was fine. When it became apparent that things were worse than it seemed, the government failed to elaborate on the issue with the problem actually coming to light after experts from the U.S. military bases within Japan explained how the bad the radioactivity was getting. It was this lack of transparency that crippled the public’s trust in the nuclear energy industry within Japan and led to the closure of several nuclear energy facilities within the past year.

This succession of events highlights the necessity of transparency in the nuclear energy industry and how important it is to gain the trust of the local populace. In fact, the lack of transparency in Fukushima was one of issues brought up in the case of Kuwait wherein lack of trust in the ability of the government to be transparent enough when it comes to potentially disastrous situations led to most people losing faith in the construction of a “safe” nuclear facility. It is based on this that the messages for Areva, EDF, Duke Energy in general when it comes to transparency is that people want and need to be informed about all facets involving processes that may potentially impact them. This comes in the form of elaborating on the dangers involved with nuclear energy, discussing what may happen should a core breach occur, explaining how nuclear waste is disposed of and what resident should come to expect when it come to having a nuclear energy facility within their immediate facility.

From a certain perspective, transparency in the nuclear energy industry can be compared to corporate social responsibility within the business world wherein companies actively implement methods of doing business that benefits members of the local community. This in turn creates positive feelings for the company among consumers which results in greater product patronage and acceptability of the company’s actions. The same method can be used in the case of nuclear energy within the U.A.E wherein transparency and methods of operation that benefit the local community will in turn greatly improve the view of the local population towards the implementation of nuclear energy within the region despite the potential dangers.

Transparency and Ethics in the Energy Production Industry

What must be understood is that the main goal of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is for an organization to embrace a certain degree of responsibility for its actions and through this create a positive impact on its employees, local communities, consumers and the environment. It is one of the main ethical tools used by corporations to ensure that its actions are restrained to a certain degree so as to prevent the company from entering into lines of business or engaging in certain business practices that can be considered ethically ambiguous and an affront to moral integrity.

As reported in the case of China through numerous environmental, business and community investigations, the lack of CSR standards within the country has resulted in a ridiculous amount of wanton expelled pollutants into the atmosphere which have detrimentally affect the health of hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers resulting in increasing cases of lung related diseases and cancer. Furthermore, lack of CSR has translated into the use of unethical methods of manufacturing such as reported cases of tainted pet food, the use of preservatives meant for human bodies within processed food, deplorable work place conditions and ever increasing work hours without sufficient commensurate pay.

Thus, in the case of the U.A.E nuclear energy industry, two distinct methods of operation must be utilized: a focus on transparency and the use of CSR as a mean of promoting nuclear energy as an effective method of energy production. What you have to understand is that transparency often acts as a means of both promoting an industry as well as limiting potential unethical action. In conjunction with CSR both methods would in effect allow the nuclear energy industry within Abu Dhabi to portray itself in a good light and as a result create a far better means by which this particular method of power generation is more easily accepted by the general public.

The Necessity of Standards in Ethics for the Nuclear Energy Industry

There is an old saying that states that “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”, in the case of producing energy based on nuclear power this takes on a more significant meaning due to the proliferation of various departments, operational sites and the potential for catastrophic nuclear meltdowns. Not all departments actually know what other departments are doing and as such this leaves a great deal of ambiguity as to what sort of ethical practices particular departments are or are not engaging in. As such this presents the necessity of establishing a standard set of ethical practices and procedures across all departments due to the need to ensure that when represented by a particular department in a certain venture/ practice their ethical practices do not reflect badly on the rest of the nuclear energy production industry.

What must be understood is that when a particular operation, department or employee engages in a distinctly unethical practice this makes consumers think of the company as a whole as being unethical despite the action being isolated to that particular instance. It is based on this particular example that there needs to be a certain code of ethics in order to ensure a generalized form of ethical accountability across all departments in order to prevent any action that might jeopardize the company’s image.

Program Implementation

Based on the various facts that have been presented so far it can be seen that there is a need to implement a program in the nuclear energy production within the U.A.E where standard ethical practices are implemented on a department wide basis. This program entitled “Employee Ethics and Integrity” will be a Code of Ethics that shall be strictly enforced by the company by which all employees are expected to conform to the ethical rules and responsibilities outlined in future versions of current company policy manuals. The value of implementing these particular standards is that it ensures that the company has a proper ethical basis by which it conducts its daily operations. This will reflect in aspects related to corporate social responsibility, adherence to proper ethical methods of accounting and environmental protection as well as generally ensuring that employees within the stick to practices which are to the benefit of the company itself.

Conclusion

It can be assumed that if such a program is properly implemented within the near future, problems related to corporate mismanagement, falsification of data, skirting laws and government regulations can be avoided with employees taking into consideration the consequences of their actions based on prescribed disciplinary action should violations of the ethical code of conduct be violated. Not only would this adherence benefit the company but it would most likely benefit consumers as well.

Stakeholders in the Nuclear Energy Industry

Definition

A broad definition of the stakeholders in this project would include anyone who feels impacted, physically or emotionally, by the construction of new nuclear power plants in the Western Region. While this definition may appear too inclusive, it is important to remember that the IAEA Handbook on Nuclear Law “Owing to the differing views on who has a genuine interest in a particular nuclear related activity, no authoritative definition of stakeholder has yet been offered, and no definition is likely to be accepted by all parties” (IAEA, 2003).

The involvement of stakeholders “throughout the life cycle of nuclear facilities, including operating reactors, temporary spent fuel storage facilities and final radioactive waste repositories” is essential to the success of any nuclear energy project (IAEA, 2011, p.vi). Moreover, stakeholders’ expectation must be taken into consideration “in the activities and interactions in the processes of the management system, with the aim of enhancing the satisfaction of interested parties while at the same time ensuring that safety is not compromised” (IAEA, 2006b, p.1).

Purpose of Engagement

The purpose of this stakeholder engagement plan is not necessarily to achieve 100% support for the building of the nuclear power plants, or any subsequent action that mny be taken during their management and operations. Rather, the goal is to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed and feel included in the decision-making process, thus fostering a higher level of trust and projecting and image of accountability and transparancy. By understanding stakeholder concerns prior to the initiation of the project, the communications team will be better situated to address them effectively.

The key to stakeholder engagement is building trust. Thus, even if some members of the community do not agree with the nuclear project, they will trust that the managers of the project have been honest and open in their communications with the public. This validates the majority of public opinion supporting the project, and will also facilitate gaining the support of those individuals in the stakeholder community who don’t know whether to support the project or not. “When members of the public have personal experience or knowledge related to a potential or perceived risk, they make up their own minds. However, when they lack direct experience with a potential risk, they rely on the people they trust” (Robinson, 2002).

Similarly, it is essential that the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation exhibit its accountability. This will contribute to building trust, and which in turn will be useful in bolstering support for the project. Indeed, “it is now generally acknowledged that appropriate stakeholder involvement can enhance public confidence” (INSG, 2006).

Demonstrations of accountability will also be helpful in gaining recognition from financial and business quarters as a reliable investment. By achieving a high level of stakeholder involvement, the Corporation “can demonstrate capability and trustworthiness” (IAEA, 2011, p.vi).

The final purpose of stakeholder engagement is that it is an opportunity to practice transparency. The accountability cycle “should ensure that all parties communicate their activities clearly and concisely, thereby avoiding accusations of secrecy and obfuscation and helping to develop and maintain trust” (NEI, n.d.). In order to guarantee openness and transparency, the communications plan will adopt the “engage, interact and cooperate” strategy that has come to be considered the most appropriate technique for communicating with stakeholders in the nuclear context (Environmental Council, 2003; Shimomura, 2004)

Stages of Stakeholder Involvement in the Life Cycle of the Nuclear Facility

Decision Making Stages

“Involving stakeholders in decision making processes, even for those stakeholder groups that do not have a direct role in making those decisions, can enhance public confidence in the application of nuclear science and technology” (IAEA, 2011, p.vi). It is equally important to encourage “public understanding of relatively minor issues and thus [prevent] the issue from escalating into a situation that erodes public confidence (IAEA, 2011, p.3). Moreover, “increased public participation in decisions can promote a greater degree of understanding of the issues and can help to develop appreciation of the actual risks and benefits of nuclear energy as compared to the risks and benefits of other energy sources” (INSG, 2007).

New Nuclear Power Programmes or Facilities

The main areas of stakeholder interest during the construction and operation of new nuclear power facilities include “meeting expectations for greater quality of life by members of the host community, mitigating construction nuisances, accommodating a growing population through the many years that a facility is in operation and assuring safe operation of the facility” (OECD, 2007). Another pressing issue of stakeholder concern at this stage is the management of radioactive waste.

Operational Phase of Nuclear Facilities

While there may be a tendency to reduce stakeholder engagement efforts after the plant in question has been developed and accepted by the community, “Experience has shown that it is important that stakeholder involvement processes developed during siting and commissioning phases are continued and potentially expanded, taking into account lessons learned during these phases regarding which groups merit the greatest amount of involvement and which communication techniques work best with various stakeholders” (IAEA, 2006a, p.11).

As such, this phase should be characterized by continued engagement of all stakeholders. In particular, government agencies should be regularly consulted to ensure that safety operations are updated to reflect any changes in regulations, and they should be “subject to strict, ongoing inspection and review […because] transparent oversight of operating nuclear facilities is an excellent way to demonstrate independent regulation and should develop and increase stakeholder confidence in competent authorities” (IAEA, 2006a, p.11).

The commitment to transparency is also strategically desirable. By involving stakeholders whenever possible, “the public is more likely to accept the need to keep security related information confidential” (US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2003). Tools to use during this period include safety level updates, power output level updates and refuelling outage schedules, which can take place “via stakeholder groups established as representatives of the community and through responsible authorities” (IAEA, 2006a, p.11).

Other long-term plans for the facility that will improve it’s standing within the local community include the improvement of existing, or construction of new infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and emergency response capabilities, all of which will be needed for the facility but which also improve the community and support “social responsibility efforts to be good neighbours” (Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd., 2006). The plant management may also consider supporting the local community “through support for local businesses, sports and education” (Nuclear Energy Institute, 2004).

Expansion or Extension of Nuclear Facility Operations

Increasing trends to the extension of the operating lives of nuclear facilities suggest that a comprehensive communications plan will contemplate this future eventuality. However, given the rapidly evolving context of the nuclear power industry, it is difficult to predict what sorts of upgrade of the present technology may be proposed in the future, and thus it is approximate at best to predict how those developments can best be communicated to various stakeholder groups. “Stakeholder involvement approaches used during the development phase of a nuclear programme may bear little resemblance to current best practices in some Member States, especially those that began nuclear developments several decades ago” (IAEA, 2006a, p.11). Generally speaking, it will be necessary to convince stakeholders that the justifications for the initial construction of the plant continue to be relevant. In addition, justification of the cost of upgrades will be key to effective stakeholder engagement. One area of potential concern is the disposal of nuclear waste.

Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities

While the decommissioning of the nuclear plant to be built in the Western Region is not anticipated until the end of the plant’s life-cycle, which should arrive approximately 100 years after construction commences, a few comments on this stage of the cycle are useful in terms of situating current and future communication goals. These considerations may also become relevant in the event that the plant is decommissioned earlier than expected due to unforeseen events.

The primary communication goals during the decommissioning of a facility “include development of alternative site uses and continued trust and confidence in the operator and regulator developed by the public during operation” (IAEA, 2011, p.8). Decommissioning of a nuclear plant has historically proven to be a considerably disruptive event for the host community, particularly due to the job loss associated therewith. “Experience shows that, even where a local community was originally against the development of a nuclear facility, they are usually also against its closure, especially if there are no plans for a replacement” (IAEA, 2011, p.8). As such, stakeholder engagement at this stage would need to address replacement employment, possible vocational training to facilitate employees’ transition into a different but related field, and the availability of pensions and other support systems for plant employees.

Strategy for Stakeholder Involvement

Stakeholder Groups to be Considered

In order to communicate effectively with stakeholders, one must first realize that not all stakeholders will approach the issues related to the new nuclear power plant in the same manner. They have different backgrounds, educations, and goals. Each group also has different styles of communication, and plays a different roles within the stakeholder commuity as a whole. In the first part of this section, stakeholder groups are identified in a summary manner. Subsequently groups are listed in order of decreasing priority to the engagement plan, and a brief discussion regarding their role, relevance, and preferred style of communication is offered.

Stakeholder Groups Identified

The present communication plan will address both statutory and non-statutory stakeholder groups. More specifically, the stakeholders implicated in the ENEC’s construction of new nuclear power plants includes “regulated industry or professionals; scientific bodies; governmental agencies (local, regional and national) whose responsibilities arguably cover, or ‘overlap’ nuclear energy; the media; the public (individuals, community groups and interest groups); and other States (especially neighbouring States that have entered into agreements providing for an exchange of information concerning possible trans-boundary impacts, or States involved in the export or import of certain technologies or material)” (IAEA, 2003). It should be noted that recognition of the importance of non-statutory stakeholder groups, such as local communities and NGOs “cannot be overestimated” (IAEA, 2011). Another important consideration relates to the age group of the stakeholders. More specifically, given the approximate life cycle of the project of 100 years, continuous engagement of younger generations will be essential to the project’s long-term success.

Stakeholder Groups Prioritized

In the present section, stakeholder groups are listed in decreasing order of prioritization. Comments are offered regarding the unique qualities of that group and their role in the overall stakeholder engagement process.

The Media

The media is a very important segment of stakeholders in the new nuclear power plant. This group plays a crucial role in determining the opinions of other stakeholders, and can be a powerful ally in facilitating corollary stakeholder engagement initiatives. “Private citizens rely on the media to act as a watchdog by bringing issues to public attention” (IAEA, 1999, p.31). Although it is true that the public believes that the media can get the facts wrong, or be biased, studies have also demonstrated that the public believes the medias plays “an important role in keeping public figures and commercial interests responsible for their actions” (IAEA, 1999, p.31). In order to have a successful relationship with the media, communication must be honest and constant. Reporters work on short-term news turnover, so fast access to updates is important. Relationships with editors and publishers are also important, as those individuals are “very influential in deciding what information is published and the balance of an article’s content” (IAEA, 1999, p.31).

Government Leaders and Private Business Interests

The leaders of both the UAE and other governments will have a high interest in being kept apprised of the developments as the project moves forward. In particular, the communication strategy will need to interact with the Western Region Municipality and the Federal National Council. Similarly, large-scale local or international business that may be interested in financing the project, off-shoots thereof or related industries, or rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, may also be interested in staying in touch with the project, as it has considerable implications for the country’s financial and energy security. This group of stakeholders has considerable resources, and is able to process highly technical information given their extensive staffing capabilities. As such, they appreciate detailed and to the point information.

Members of the Medical Profession

While the media is the most influential force in terms of public opinion, members of the medical profession come a close second. The public perceives them as reliable and honest sources of information. This is particularly the case as regards the negative health risks associated with radiation exposure, uranium mining, or the possibility of adverse health effects from residing near a nuclear power plant. This group of stakeholders should be contacted and educated on the specific details of radiation protection and nuclear safety issues. They will then communicate this information to their patients, who will be more likely to trust the information once it has passed through the filter of their health care provider’s assessment of its veracity.

Employees

Employees of the proposed nuclear plant are an important stakeholder group, as they are responsible for ensuring that the project succeeds, “but also as informal spokespersons” for the project” (IAEA, 2006a, p.15). Thus is it essential that the communication plan incorporate elements that specifically target the employees themselves, as they will have an influence on public opinion, which in turn will determine local political decisions that may effect the development of the plant.

Developers, End-users and Operators of Nuclear Technologies

This target group consists of all the individuals who work with radiation in some way in their workplace, and are thus regulated by the nuclear authority. Although these individuals may not be well-versed in issues related to nuclear power that are beyond the narrow scope of their individual duties, their association with radiation may lead other members of the public to turn to them for information about the new nuclear power plant. As such, it would be useful to reach out to this group with an informative pamphlet. By providing clear, balanced and honest facts about nuclear safety, the engagement plan will earn the trust and support of this group, and disseminate important information not only to them but also to all the members of the public who may look to them for advice.

Non-commercial Researchers working on Nuclear Energy or Related Fields

This stakeholder group includes academics, researchers working for NGOs and other think tanks that are considered relatively neutral and experts in the field. The public, and the media, are likely to seek this group’s opinions and input when assessing various issues related to the new plant. Establishment of a working relationship with this group would be advantageous, and would ultimately facilitate dissemination of information to the public.

Citizens

The local community must also be taken into account, as they can “exert influence on local and national politicians and can be an important group in terms of support for developing new facilities or extending existing ones” (IAEA, 2006a, p.15). The communication plan therefore is both strategically and legally bound to communicate with citizens. While the plan already indirectly communicates with citizens by targetting the sources of public opinion listed above, it must also take measures to communicate directly with the public.

Issues of Importance to Stakeholders

The most common concerns that arise with respect to nuclear energy are related to issues of safety, including the management of nuclear waste, negative association with the potential to develop nuclear weapons, the added insecurity associated with the invisible nature of radiation as a dangerous hazard and fear of the adverse health effects it could cause. A secondary but nevertheless highly important issue for stakeholders is the economic aspect of nuclear energy. Development and maintenance of plants can constitute an enormous cost, and the nuclear energy industry has developed a reputation for exceeding cost projections for maintenance later on in the life cycle of the plant. Finally, the heavy dependence on highly technical and scientific knowledge often leaves the general community with feelings of helplessness and fear when faced with questions related to nuclear energy.

However, there is also considerable evidence that stakeholders may be in support of the development of nuclear plower plants in the Western Region of the UAE, for several reasons. First, many residents and public officials agree that development of forward-thinking infrastructure is one of the improtant positive elements and defining features of the UAE, suggesting that residents would be open to the development of new power plants. A recent stakeholder survey found that in the opinion of the participants, “overall, Infrastructure is considered top-class and life is perceived to be comfortable (largely attributed to the vision of the government) and also see the Western Region developing in the future as well” (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d., p.9).

The construction of a new nuclear power plant will appeal to stakeholders in this context, insofar as they share the perspective that nuclear is “not just about the tangible benefit but [also has] strong emotional under tones of modernity, progressiveness, the UAE vision, innovation and […] national pride” (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d., p.20). This was determined to be the position of most respondents in the aforementioned survey, and market researchers concluded on that basis that such emotions should be taken into account when designing in future communications. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation specifically also seems to be viewed in a positive light by the stakeholders surveyed, who described the company as a “sophisticated, modern, innovation company with a vision for the future” (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d., p.24).

Stakeholders in the region also seem to be fairly well-educated as regards the reality of increasing energy needs, and in particular the need to replace dirtier energy sources such as fossil fuels and coal with cleaner sources. Specifically, the stakeholders surveyed appeared to be aware not only of the centrality of electricity in their daily activities, their “knowledge about electricity […] was quite high amongst the consumers, [as well as] awareness of the fact that there was a need to come up with newer, cleaner and cheaper energy to meet the demands of an increasing population” (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d. p.11).

Public opinion is split as regards the characterizing of nuclear as “clean”, however the cost effectiveness of nuclear does not seem to be in question. As such, stakeholders generally seem to perceive the augmentation of UAE’s electricity production capacity, the emphasis placed on achieving this goal is mitigated by concerns over “environmental damage, safety and/or using old production technology” (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d. p.13). As such, it would be beneficial if the stakeholder engagment strategy could influence public opinion in favour of viewing Nuclear as one of the environmental friendly and natural sources of electricity. This would afford the new plants a positive associating with other sustainable sources of electricity, such as solar, wind and hydro.

Stakeholders seem to have a high level of confidence in the government and other regulatory bodies, which will contribute to maintaining a good degree of tranquility in the general public when confronting issues related to the new nuclear plant, whether they are environmental, economic, or otherwise. “However, a strong and consistent need to educate consumers about the safety of the facility and the program” was emphasized by the majority of respondents, thus verifying the current belief that open and constant communication with stakeholders is an essential aspect of a successful engagement strategy (Garde & Chowdhury, n.d. p.22).

Means of Engagement for Stakeholder Groups

This engagement plan will adopt the “stepwise decision making” approach, “during which involvement may take the form of sharing information, consulting, dialoguing or deliberating on decisions” (IAEA, 2011, p.8). This process is currently being applied to all nuclear facilities (Fischhoff, 2009). While the engagement process will draw from traditional knowledge and methodology, the rapidly evolving nature of communication must be accounted for as well. As Gauvain, Jorle and Chanial have acknowledged, “The traditional mass media are no longer the major vector for interpretation and transfer of decisions and technical documents to the public by regulators, with web based reporting and consultation now widespread” (2008).

These sentiments have been confirmed more recently by the IAEA, who have stated, “the use of modern media such as social networking sites and the Internet may ultimately become more influential than traditional forms of print or broadcast communication” (2011, p.6).

Tools and Engagement Techniques

The general population’s confidence in the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation will be improved “if issues raised by the public are taken seriously and are carefully and openly evaluated and discussed” (IAEA, 2006a). The communications team must also ensure that they follow up with “to those involved as to how and why their contributions have or have not influenced the outcome [… and] ensure there are routes for public reporting on final decisions, strategies or implementation plans” (Environmental Council, 2003).

Different levels of engagement will be employed for various stakeholder groups. The level of engagement ranges from “remaining passive with no engagement, monitoring of stakeholder’s views, informing and consulting, working directly with stakeholders to ensure their concerns are understood, to collaboration with stakeholders as full partners in finding mutually agreed solutions” (IAEA, 2011, p.7).

The Media

Engagement of the media will be characterized by regular contact with journalists. Key journalists located within the UAE and abroad will be identified and added to a mailing list, which in turn must be kept updated. An initial information kit will be prepared and distributed to the entire mailing list, announcing the commencement of the project and outlining the benefits, risks, and precautionary measures that it entails. A feature article will also be prepared in conjunction with a major UAE newspaper announcing in greater detail the project commencement and the benefits it promises to bring to the UAE in terms of economy, energy security and quality of life. Press releases concerning progress updates or eventual concerns raised, which may include and audio/video aspect for television- and internet-based media, will be distributed to all journalists on the mailing list. Key journalists will also be identified and invited to periodic press conferences where necessary.

Government Leaders and Private Business Interests

Points of contact will be established with the Western Region Municipality and the Federal National Council. Engagement of these two ministries will consist of regular and transparent communication with both bodies. Periodic briefing documents will be prepared for both ministries outlining in a compact and detailed manner all the relevant information, including highly technical details of the project, developments, or problems encountered. Specifically, any issue that may impact the country’s energy security will immediately be communicated to both ministries. Similar communications will be prepared for interested investors and rating agencies, without the exception that information pertaining to the country’s energy security will not be divulged. A comprehensive overview of the plant from a financial perspective will be presented in the annually financial reports, which will be published on the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation website.

Members of the Medical Profession

In order to educate members of the medical profession on the specific details of radiation protection and nuclear safety issues, a brochure will be prepared that highlights the key issues, measures, and low likelihood of problems. Multiple copies of brochures will be distributed to all the medical centres in the Western Region, such that professionals can make reference to them. Brochures are not intended for distribution to patients.

Employees

The internal communications necessary to engage the nuclear plant employees will encompass several different facets. First, a special event will be organized for all staff to celebrate the inauguration of the new plant. Speeches will be given by several key members of the communications and management departments, highlighting the benefits to the community of the new plant. Subsequent communications will be organized through staff meetings, newsletters and e-mail.

Developers, End-users and Operators of Nuclear Technologies

An informative pamphlet on the risks of working with radioactive materials will be prepared and distributed to all developers, end-users and operators of nuclear technologies, whether within the new plant itself or at secondary sites. In addition, selected personnel will be invited to participate in site tours of the new plant, in order to further educate them about the specific processes being used. Those selected individuals will then return to their workplaces and be in a position to clarify any questions their coworkers may have regarding the contents of the pamphlet.

Non-commercial Researchers working on Nuclear Energy or Related Fields

Written information will be distributed to key researchers at UAE universities, and will be issued to other researchers on a per request basis. These materials will be highly technical in nature, and address all issues related to plant operations, from safety, to innovations in nuclear technology, waste management, highering practices, upgrading of staff skills, and other questions that may arise.

Citizens

Citizens will be communicated with directly through three primary means: paid advertising, social media, and community forums. As regards the former, the communications plan will use five forms of paid advertising: print, radio, television, outdoors, and transit ads. Print ads will appear in local newspapers and magazine, and will be useful for conveying details of the project (Inett, 2003). Radio spots will also be produced that provide a quick sound byte that promotes the project. Television ads, which are “effective in reaching road target audiences”, will also be taken out, although this form of communication is expensive (Inett, 2003). In addition, public service announcements will be formulated for cable and radio, which are often broadcast without charge. A series of outdoor billboards with a brief message will be placed in strategic locations through the Western Region in order to engage mobile audiences. Transit ads with similar content will be developed to reach specifically urban audiences.

In terms of the social media aspect, two members of the communications team will be responsible for managing the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the new plant. Both pages will be linked to the plant’s website, and will provide useful links for obtaining information on the plant, on nuclear power generally, and further contact information for the team. Both accounts must be assiduously managed in terms of replying to comments, both positive and negative, in order to maintain a transparent reputation.

Finally, a series of community forums will be organized in strategic locations, in order to establish connections with the community, and create a space for questions and dissemination of information. Forums will begin with a speech by a plant representative, followed by a discussion period. As new issues arise, subsequent rounds of forums may be organized on an ad hoc basis.

Involvement of Stakeholders

Energy Consumption in the U.A.E

The main contributor to energy consumption in the U.A.E is its harsh climate since the region is located in a hot and arid desert with little rain fall whose primary export is oil and petroleum based products. It was the oil industry that started the rapid industrialization of the region in an area that for all intents and purposes is one of hottest and harshest places on the planet to live in. Such an environment places certain unique strains on the energy production capabilities of the country not apparent in other areas. For example, during summer months the outside temperature can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius which necessitates the need for constant and continuous energy use by the vast amount of air conditioning systems within the various countries in the U.A.E.

In fact various studies have shown that among all other countries it is the oil exporting states within the U.A.E and Saudi Arabia that have the greatest per person consumption of electricity on the planet. This distinction is further exacerbated by the fact that power plants located within the U.A.E work on a low thermal efficiency especially during summer months due to high outdoor temperatures which causes more fuel to be burnt than what is necessary with fuel consumption reaching 2 to 3 times its normal rate. Combine this with the fact that summer in the U.A.E lasts from April to October and that public consumption of electricity also increases during this time means that for a vast majority of the year the U.A.E is operating under an energy infrastructure that consumes more than the global average, operates under a system that is highly inefficient and actually wastes fuel and is unsustainable in the long run as fuel sources dwindle.

The inherent problem lies with the fact that despite the increased rate of production the U.A.E still consumes 20% of the fuel it produces and 100% of the natural gas extracted. Estimates show that by 2015 the U.A.E government will need 25% of the total amount of oil produced in order to provide energy for its growing infrastructure. This signifies an almost 100% increase since its rate of consumption in 1995 and presents a growing problem of fuel reliance on a source that is rapidly dwindling. The U.A.E also has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest per capita rates of consumption in the world with the latest estimates showing that on average 13,000kWh and 535 liters per year of water are consumed per person. Not only that, as the population of the U.A.E increases to an estimated 9,000,000 people by 2016 this will in effect increase the overall consumption of energy by 35%.

The Government

Direct Government Intervention

Based on the information presented in the previous section, it can be seen that due to the potential severity of the U.A.E’s potential energy crisis within the next decade or so, it is important for the government to show a greater degree of intervention in the case of nuclear energy industry within the region so as to address the concerns of the local citizenry regarding the potential impact of a nuclear energy facility on their health and welfare. If greater government intervention could occur in this situation involving either stricter penalties or the threat of possible closure of the nuclear power plant for failing to live up to proper environmental standards of operation then this would go a long way towards resolving the potential issues of environmental degradation and radiation poisoning within the local area.

Direct government intervention in this case would involve stricter tests, an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the situation cases involving a core breach and lawfully enforceable mandates that if ignored or otherwise not followed would result in an immediate closure of the business with possible criminal charges brought against the owners. It must be noted though that despite this particular method possibly bringing about the greatest potential remedy for the current problem of addressing the concerns of local communities it is unlikely to occur due to several reasons. The first involves the situation mentioned earlier regarding the power hungry nature of the U.A.E and its continually increasing energy requirements. The second is the fact that should several nuclear energy facility be established within certain areas in the U.A.E, the jobs created by the electrical companies would become one of the backbone careers for people within the local community and their loss would result in a devastating blow for possibly hundreds of people.

The final reason is the fact that evidence showing the hazards of nuclear energy production and its possible impacts on local populations has not been properly connected to the activities of nuclear energy plants where there have been too few studies which have properly investigated the problems in the area and verifiably connected them to the current state of people within local communities. Without valid research and public support behind it there is very little likelihood that the government will even attempt to do anything at all. It is based on this that while this particular option would result in the greatest amount of direct change it is also an approach that would least likely happen due to the nature of governments being swayed by the beneficial effects of a project in its entirety rather than the detrimental effects it could have on a minority.

The Community

The power of ideologies can create substantial changes in views and beliefs of local communities. The following section will elaborate on the “green culture” ideology and how a similar trait could be utilized for the acceptance of nuclear energy. One of the current popular culture initiatives seen in most communities today has been a push towards “clean” energy production via the green movement. The Green Movement can be summed up as a political ideology whose main goal is the creation of an ecologically sustainable society where conservation and sustainability are everyday practices rather than isolated rarities in an increasingly consumerist global population. The main concept that drives the Green Movement is the idea that the finite resources available on Earth cannot hope to support the potentially infinite expansion of humanity.

It is a belief that states that the Earth itself is a closed off ecosystem with no resources entering into it, as such its surface can only support a certain population of species, both human and animal alike, before the ecosystem inevitably collapses in on itself as a result of a severe strain on the planet’s natural and ecological resources. It is this exponential proliferation and the resulting unmitigated consumption of natural resources and the pollution that it creates that the Green Movement is trying to fight against through the use of environmentalism, social liberalism and various kinds of grassroots democracy. On the other hand it must be noted that skeptics of the Green Movement have continuously stated that the various assumptions made by the movement itself have all been grossly exaggerated. For example, the case of global climate change over the past decade has been attributed by the Green movement to the rapid proliferation of fossil fuel burning power plants and cars which has in effect raised global temperatures as a result of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Skeptics on the other hand state that such an assumption is inherently fallacious in that it has been shown by various studies that the oceans and the rapid proliferation of algae have in effect enabled the absorption of excess CO2 in the atmosphere. The increased heat they state is all due the solar cycle of our sun which goes through periods of dormant and active states wherein the current increase in temperature is actually due to the sun entering its active state. Furthermore such pundits have created the argument that an increased population should not be considered a bad thing since it encourages economic growth and technological development. Based on this it can be seen that both arguments presented by both sides are can be boiled down to one indicating the potential doom of the Earth through the overconsumption of resources and the rapid population growth while the other argument states that the current state of society is indicative of a trend towards unparalleled growth and development previously unseen in other ages of humanity.

It must be noted that while both arguments do present valid cases the ideas presented by the Green movement are not without merit. It is due to these facts that various organizations that are part of the Green Movement have campaigned for the use of green technologies such as renewable energy resources, the creation of caps on carbon emissions and the use of environmentally sustainable corporate practices in order to ensure that an apocalyptic future for the Earth can be averted. In fact events in 2008 showed that there was a large consensus within Washington that truly wanted to advocate a bill implementing a cap and trade program on carbon emissions with both Barack Obama and John McCain campaigning on platforms that advocated the use of Green technologies.

Based on this example of present day community related sentiments regarding energy production it can be seen that the use of nuclear energy and the current popular culture notion for the utilization of “green” energy resources is at odds with one another. An examination of the current culture within the U.A.E reveals a considerable proliferation in the popular culture sentiment of “green living: and as such this may prove detrimental towards the establishment of any nuclear power based method of energy production. What is needed in this particular instance is the development of a communications strategy that utilizes the same ideological basis as the green movement so as to convince people of the benefits and the veracity of the arguments for the use of nuclear power in the case of the U.A.E

Media

Communications Strategy to be utilized

What must be understood is that similar to the case of national interests being influenced by global events, decision makers/local communities are also influenced by various ideologies which dictate how they formulate foreign policy decisions in relation to national interests and global influences. This occurs as a direct result of a prevailing social idea or concept which influences how that particular society thinks which in turn influences decision makers who must conform to the prevailing ideologies within that society. One clear example where it can be seen that ideologies played a major role in influencing the foreign policy creation of transitional states can be seen in the case of China. During the midpoint of the 1900’s China’s inherent national ideology was one that was distinctly at odds with the global economic system at the time. Prosperity was linked to the concepts and precepts of the communist system and as direct result this created widespread hunger and famine.

In order to resolve this, a new ideology was put into effect wherein instead of promoting the idea that the accumulation of wealth was distinctly evil the government promoted the idea “to be rich is wonderful” (rough translation). This resulted in significant social and economic changes within the country which directly impacted its foreign policy objectives towards developing greater trade relations with other countries and encouraging foreign direct investment within the country. This shows how ideologies have a powerful impact on the creation of new policies within states since they act as an impetus towards changing national interests and state goals which in turn affect foreign policy goals and objectives. Thus, in the case of the U.A.E, the communications and media strategy that is needed in order to effectively convince the local population and stakeholders of the necessity of nuclear energy as well as its safety is the development of an ideology that centers around nuclear power as being a necessity in the lives of the people of the region as well as being an integral part of the continued growth and industrial development of states such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai.

In a sense, what is needed is the development of a form of ethos that acts as a means of influencing the perception of people regarding the use of nuclear power towards a more positive orientation. The concept of ethos can be described as a form of guiding beliefs that are an inherent part of a community or nations character. It is used as guide that influences a person’s behavior to such an extent that by examining the ethos behind a culture you can determine how they will react based on a given situation. It due to this that concepts behind any form of ethos must first be subjected to intense examination before it is shown to have been constructed under a proper ethical and moral framework. What must be understood is that Ethos can also refer to the way in which a person portrays themselves in an argument, in a sense that it is a method in which persuaders present an “image” to people that they are attempting to persuade.

This particular “image” refers to a persuaders “character” in the sense that a person is attempting to persuade another person of the righteousness of their statements based on their inherent character. In the case of ethos it is a form of “artifice”, meaning that is created, manufactured, made, constructed etc. It can be considered a type of surface image which may in fact have an entirely fictitious relationship to what is actually true. For example, a teacher could show up in class one day wearing cowboy boots, a ten gallon hat and long sleeved t-shirt with a large image of a cactus on the front, the next day he can wear an average suit and tie while the day after that he could wear a Scottish kilt, bagpipes and one of those patterned hats. The reason I mention this is due to the fact that despite the different outfits he wears the person and the ideas that are being presented have not changed at all however what is changed is the perception of the audience regarding the idea being presented.

The same can be said for ethos wherein the method in which the idea is “packaged” drastically changes the perception of the audience towards accepting the idea itself or the validity of its statements. It is in the way that it is packaged and presented to the public that changes the perception of the public to the idea that is being presented. For example, in the case of the implementation of nuclear power within the U.A.E what the general public sees is an argument presented along the lines of nuclear energy as a “clean” source of power that will in effect lead the region into a bright prosperous future. In reality nuclear power comes with substantial risks as well as produces spent fuel cells that are highly radioactive which are subsequently stored near the nuclear facility and act as a potential environmental hazard should their containers ever be opened by accident. What the general public would see though in the case of implementing nuclear power is an argument for freedom and innovation what it is in essence is a statement to be allowed to implement a potentially risky method of energy production under the guise of progress.

Yet, the development of a ideologies through communication strategies and social media is nothing particularly new. Various companies and governments have been utilizing it for years in order to influence public opinion towards a particular goal that is more beneficial towards the interests of such entities. One of the most well known examples of an influential ideology affecting state decisions is the concept of the white man’s burden wherein various western countries were under the belief that they had the “responsibility” to educate the “lesser” races due to their “inherent” superiority. Michael Hunt in his book, “Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy” even goes on to state that the concept of the white man’s burden and the resulting white racism of the American elite that followed was actually one of the principles that had motivated American foreign policy since the beginning. In a way, it can be said that ideologies can affect how national interests are formulated resulting in distinct changes to a state’s foreign policy.

For example, the ideology of creating a strong German nation and gaining back its lost pride after World War 1 that was advocated by Hitler during his rise to power resulted in distinct changes to Germany’s national interest. This distinctly resulted in foreign policy initiatives that were distinctly expansionary, focused on the elimination of the Jewish people and were generally hostile to the states that Germany had invaded. Other examples of ideologies affecting foreign policy can be seen in the case of the U.S. itself wherein ideologies related to the supremacy of the American system, the supposed divinely ordained destiny of the U.S. as well as aspects related to the distribution of the tenets of democracy resulted in the U.S. changing from its stance of isolationism (period before the start of World War 1) towards global interference in the affairs of other states (period after World War 2). From this particular perspective it can be seen that development of ideologies as a form of ethos is an effective method of getting all stakeholders in relation to the promotion of nuclear energy involved since it in effect creates an underlying method of thinking from which government, community and media related decisions are based upon.

Ethos as a Tool of Influence and Control

An examination of the historical nature of ethos has shown that in one way or another despite the apparent ethical appearance of a certain type of ethos there is always an underlying reason behind its creation which does in fact create a beneficial effect for the individuals that created it. As it was stated earlier, ethos is not something that is inherent but rather something that has been created and manufactured with a surface image in order to fulfill a particular purpose. It is often utilized as a method of convincing people or justifying a particular set of actions and as such it is crafted in such a way so as to be convincing, believable and thus adaptable. For example when ordering someone to go into battle you do not tell them that the possibility of them dying is high rather you tell them to fight for national pride, democracy, freedom etc., even though the fact of the matter is that person will most likely die. In a sense ethos is a device utilized in order to manipulate public perception regarding truth in such a way that it promotes a particular idea on the basis of the common good but in fact it was created in order to carry out a particular action.

Understanding the Nature of Ideologies and how they are used

Ideologies in general refer to a proposed set of ideas that are created by a group within society with the main goal of soliciting social change, adherence to a new set of ideals or even a new way of thinking (i.e. white man’s burden, the concept of German racial superiority during World War 2 etc.). As such it can also refer to the way in which a person portrays themselves in an argument, in a sense that it is a method in which persuaders present an “image” to people that they are attempting to persuade. One of the most recent examples of the use of ideologies in influencing foreign policy was the 2001 declaration of “the war on terror”. The ideology created at this point in time was one which focused on ensuring the safety of the U.S. through the elimination of global terrorist threats. What must be understood is that based on the documentary “The Power of Nightmares” by Allen Curtis it is explained that the threat of radical Islamism as well as the portrayal of Al Qaeda as globally spanning organized force was in fact a myth created by various politicians in several global governments. Its purpose was to help unite and inspire people under the power of a perceived threat so as to find justification for the development of several foreign policy objectives.

The most recent actions of the movement based on their ideology helped to change the America’s foreign policy initiatives to such an extent that it resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq based on reports created by the Neo-conservatives which indicated Osama Bin Laden was hidden in an extensive cave complex (which was proven to be false and inaccurate) and that there were weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq (also proven to be false and inaccurate). As it can be seen ideologies are used to directly influence public perception which in turn affects national interests resulting in distinct changes to foreign policy as seen in the case of transitional states and their use of ideologies in order to justify certain actions (i.e. case of China, case of pre-World War 2 Germany etc). The creation of a communications and media strategy centered around an ideology based on fear is in the opinion of the researcher highly unethical.

On the other hand, the aforementioned example shows how effective ideologies are in shifting both governments and citizens towards a particular way of thinking. As such, one way in which this can be utilized is through the development of an ideology of need instead of fear wherein the concept of adopting nuclear power within the U.A.E despite current levels of apprehension due to the Fukushima-daichi will be centered around the indispensible necessity of nuclear power as a means of achieving national progress. An examination of the social culture within the country reveals that U.A.E society has grown used to the “perks” accorded to it by virtue of its position as an oil rich region. Unfortunately it is a well known fact that the basis behind such perks is the ability of the various governments within the region to effectively extract oil. Once the oil becomes significantly depleted as both a source of energy and the perks the region’s citizens enjoy this would of course have an adverse impact on U.A.E society. Such information can be utilized by a communications and media strategy that leverages the need for industrial and architectural expansion as a method of maintaining such privileges and includes nuclear power as a primary means of achieving such goals. By framing nuclear power as a necessary aspect of the ideology of maintaining the privileges enjoyed by the region’s citizens this would in effect change the view of local communities regarding the use of nuclear energy despite the potential for disasters as seen in the case of Japan due to their inherent need to maintain the standard of living that they are used to.

Conclusion

In a sense ideologies are devices utilized in order to manipulate public perception regarding truth in such a way that it promotes a particular idea on the basis of the common good and is created in order to carry out a particular action. In the case of states, ideologies act as a method of ensuring positive public perception towards the serious internal transformations that are currently occurring within the state (i.e. the push towards nuclear power). What must be understood is that with change comes either positive or negative ramifications in terms of public perception towards what was currently happening. When Germany was a transitional state during World War 2 where it transitioned from being a relatively benign state to one of imperialistic expansion it was the inherent ideology of gaining back Germany’s pride, eliminating the problems (supposedly) caused by the Jews and creating a strong German nation that both resulted in the creation of Germany’s aggressive foreign policy as well as enabled public acquiescence towards the actions of state. Based on this it can be seen that ideologies play important roles in inciting particular actions which as a result dictate the creation of new policy goals which in this case involves the implementation of nuclear power as a means of supplementing the energy needs of the region.

Plan for Message Dissemination

As mentioned earlier, the proposed communication strategy is to create positive public perceptions for nuclear energy within the case of the U.A.E through the creation of an ideology based on a type of ethos that connects nuclear power with the future in terms of economic prosperity and fulfilling the energy needs of the region. In order to accomplish this what will be necessary is to create a media campaign that presents what could be the future of the U.A.E such as better industries, lower electricity costs and an assortment of public utilities all of which are powered through the use of nuclear energy. As seen in the case of the “green movement”, ideological campaigns have been effective methods of influencing general perceptions and as such, by creating a media message based on the ethos that a solid energy infrastructure for the U.A.E is a necessity towards progress, the overall acceptability for nuclear power will be that much more likely.

It must also be noted that aside from traditional methods of media it is also important to utilize online social media as a method of encompassing a larger variety of stakeholders. An examination of the U.A.E reveals that an increasingly large percentage of local residents are utilizing a variety of social media platforms as a means of communication and internalizing ideas and concepts. By utilizing online social media to popularize the concept of nuclear energy, it is more likely that such a plan would be able to encompass a larger variation of residents and create a far better means of “getting the message across” so to speak which would in effect help to expedite the process of establishing a nuclear energy infrastructure within the U.A.E

Monitoring and Evaluation of the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

Measuring the Effects of the Communications Plan

Results can be measured in either a quantitative, or a qualitative manner. Quantitative research is useful for numerically measurable relationships and their combined results. Qualitative research is more useful for data that cannot be described numerically. The outcome of the experiment should be measured using multiple methods to provide balance. In addition, evidence should be included that demonstrates the reliability and validity of the measurements used. While it is impossible to guarantee that implementation of communications strategies occur in an environment that is “free of events [happening] at the same time as the intervention that [could confuse] its effect” (Valntine & Cooper, 2008, p.147), measurement methods must be designed in such a way as to minimize the potential for such confusion. Where such events do occur, they must be documented.

The outcomes of the communications plan and indicators thereof must be measured, “in a way that is consistent with the definition of the intervention and its proposed effects” (Valentine & Cooper, 2008, p.147). Timing of measurements must also be optimized to most accurately measure the effects of the intervention, and anonymity between data collectors and examinees must be guaranteed (Odom, Brantlinger, Gersten, Horner, Thompson & Harris, 2004). Where relevant to the intended beneficiaries of the study, the intervention should be “tested for its effect within important subgroupings of participants, settings and outcomes” (Valentine & Cooper, 2008, p.147).

The Ethics of Monitoring

Any monitoring activity must also have a rigorous ethical component that ensures protection of the participants. Experimental and quasi-experimental researchers may be faced with a variety of ethical dilemmas, including but not limited to: how to handle guilty knowledge; disclosure of affiliation, particularly if the researcher is not “on the side” of the researched; justifying covert research; determining the necessity of informed consent; how to address potential charges of exploiting participants; issues related to confidentiality and anonymity; balancing individual rights to privacy and public rights to information; the true nature of public interest; situations involving the unavoidable identification of participants; and determining responsibility to the research community (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007, p.127).

Topics to be Monitored: Content, Media, and Perceived Need

In The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man (1951), author Marshall McLuhan provides analyses and comments on the use of persuasion in contemporary popular culture. In particular, he focuses on the influence exercised by communications media. His defining argument is that this influence exists independent of the content that those media are used to communicate. It is in this work that the popularized phrase ‘the medium is the message’ was first coined. McLuhan’s analysis is concerned with the symbolism of the imagery and text in relation to what such advertising implies about the society at which it is aimed. As such, the media that are selected for targeting each stakeholder group for the nuclear plant communications strategy must be selected, monitored, and evaluated with an eye to such considerations. In other words, both the content of the messaging, and the media with which it is delivered, must be monitored in order to identify areas for improvement and to revise best practices in the stakeholder engagement strategy.

As regards the possible developments that will impact the communications strategy in future years, one should consider the interrelationship between messaging today and media tomorrow. In this respect, it is relevant to note comments made by John Goyder in his recent work Technology and Society: A Canadian Perspective, “one technology leads to another [… and] selection of technology is made in accordance with the values and perceived needs of society” (2005, p.57). The notion that technology will respond to societal needs can be applied to the development of new media (itself a kind of technology). In other words, new media is developed in response to society’s communication requirements. This notion, when coupled with McLuhan’s aphorism ‘the medium is the message’ suggests that new messaging is developed in response to society’s needs. One must also take into account Goyder’s important qualifier that technology is developed in accordance with the perceived needs of society. The debate therefore takes on an additional aspect in that one must also consider the possible disparities between society’s actual needs, and those that are merely perceived. An effective communications plan will therefore remain apprised of the target stakeholder groups perceived needs, and not merely the empirical research that supports acceptance of the plan (such as the alternative energy statistics discussed in the above section, “Messages to Deliver”).

Limitations

The researcher acknowledges that there is a wide array of alternative approaches to stakeholder engagement, a full analysis taking into account all of these would be beyond the scope of this project. Instead, only the most prevalent recommendations are included in this report. It is hoped that preliminary findings, made with reference to the four above-mentioned sources of guidance on communications plans, will be constructive in determining not only the form of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s new stakeholder engagement strategy, but also the direction that future research should pursue. Thus, this research proposes to lay the groundwork for more detailed study of the trajectory of approaches to reasoning in the formulation of stakeholder engagement plans.

Conclusions

This research project has sought to identify and explore the most pertinent areas of concern that directly impact the development and implementation of a successful stakeholder engagement plan for the new nuclear power plant proposed by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation. The plant is proposed for the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the total lifespan of the project is estimated at 100 years. The interdisciplinary literature review approach that has been adopted to this question has allowed for a variety of interesting conclusions that will benefit such a strategy.

A variety of positive messages have been identified that will help to bolster support for the new nuclear project, ranging from economic, to health, to energy security benefits. First and foremost, the low likelihood of a nuclear incident resulting in contamination of water or air in the surrounding area must be emphasized. In addition, the positive health benefits related to the improved housing that the project will bring with it will also be included in the messaging of the plan. As an important indicator of health, quality housing is essential to improve the overall quality of life of the residents in the host region. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the development of the host community, providing both asset and capacity development that will be a source of employment, income and empowerment for staff and residents.

Another key message to be delivered by this communications strategy is the desirability of nuclear energy in the context of dwindling petroleum resources, global warming caused by dirty energy sources, and the inability of any other alternative energy to meet present and future energy demands. Wind power can meet a maximum of 25% of our current needs, and a much smaller percentage of projected energy needs. Moreover, it requires revamping of traditional grid systems, which entails further costs. Solar energy is inconsistent as it is only available during the day, and the difficulty of successfully storing the energy produce through solar mechanisms seems insurmountable. Nuclear energy is the only consistent, reliable and high-volume energy source available for replacing dirty and dwindling supplies of petroleum and coal. It is the greenest viable alternative available.

There objectives to be achieved by delivering these messages about nuclear energy. First, public education will improve safety. Second, it will allow the communications team to become informed as to the perceptions, needs and concerns of various stakeholder groups. Third, it will allow the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation to establish itself as a trustworthy and transparent organization, which will be instrumental in achieving the aforementioned objectives, and in sustaining a positive image in the community over time. Finally, international treaties also require that the facility engage its stakeholders and disclose security-related information.

An effective long-term stakeholder engagement plan should engage stakeholders during all phases of the nuclear project life span. This means including stakeholders in the decision making stage, in the start-up for the new nuclear facility, including the construction and launch phase. Stakeholder engagement is equally important during the operational phase of the nuclear facility, and stakeholder groups will need to be kept apprised of new developments in nuclear technology, as well as any new security concerns. Any expansion or extension of the nuclear facility will need to involve an engagement strategy for that specific activity, and finally the communications plan must also foresee the eventual decommissioning phase.

The stakeholder groups to be targeted have been identified in decreasing order of priority, beginning with the media. This group plays a crucial role in determining the opinions of all other stakeholder groups, and have considerable power over the messaging that gets out regarding the new facility. The second most important group of stakeholders includes government leaders and private business interests. They will play an instrumental role in financing and approving the project. Members of the medical profession, employees of the plant itself, and other users and operators of nuclear technologies are also important stakeholder groups. Their support of the project will be instrumental in achieving broader outreach, as these three groups will be points of references for the non-initiated, who will trust them for their specialized knowledge. Non-commercial researchers working on nuclear energy will also be reference points for directing public opinion, and should therefore also be a prioritized stakeholder group. The final stakeholder group is regular citizens who cannot be grouped into any of the other aforementioned categories. While ultimately this is the most important group in terms of size, the other groups have been ranked higher in priority because of their ability to influence the opinions of regular citizens.

Both hot and cool media will be used to engage the aforementioned stakeholder groups. While hot media is arguably less engaging, as it requires less thought on the part of the recipient party, various stakeholder groups also have certain requirements in terms of time, detail, or delivery mode. Given those considerations, the following tools have been identified as the best methods for reaching out to respective stakeholder groups. The media will be engaged through several techniques, including the use of information kits, press packets, and period press conferences. Highly detailed and technical briefing documents will be prepared for government and private industry.

An informational pamphlet that focuses on dispelling health concerns related to nuclear facilities will be prepared and distributed to medical professionals. Employees will be engaged through a launch party, staff meetings, newsletters and e-mails. Informative site visits will be organized for end users of nuclear technology and non-commercial researchers in order to provide them with a closer understanding of the facility’s operations. Finally, citizens will be engaged directly through paid advertising, social media and community forums. This approach will provide an appropriate balance between hot and cool media, and will help not only to deliver the aforementioned messaging to the citizens, as well as gathering research on their opinions, concerns and perceptions, which will be important in guiding the communication strategy in the future.

The delivery of messages should also be guided by an awareness of the Sleeper Effect and its impact on the long-term effectiveness of messaging. In particular, the essential need to maintain a perception of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation as a trustworthy source of information is paramount, not only for the reasons discussed above, but also in terms of differential decay of countering messages and memory retention of stakeholders. Strategies for reacting to any negative messaging regarding the new facility, its operations, safety or health incidents, must be quickly and effectively discounted. Damage control in such instances must be guided by the fact that any event or message that discredits the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, or which casts the organization and the nuclear plant in a negative light, may have more serious long-term effects than are initially observable, and must be counteracted with a long-term commitment to transparency and trustworthiness.

The successful implementation of the proposed communications plan will depend on effective monitoring and evaluation of the strategies proposed. Specifically, the content of the messaging, the media used to deliver those messages, and the evolution of stakeholder’s perceptions of their needs. This research has demonstrated that an interdisciplinary approach to communications can yield innovative results. Nevertheless, the study is limited by its restricted scope in terms of literature review. The interdisciplinary methodology has paved the way for future, more comprehensive research on the topics addressed in this paper.

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