Your information page on changes at WISE-Paris

Paris, 3 December 2003

Dear Madame, Dear Sir,

You may have recently discovered the services offered by our team on this site and elsewhere, or you may have been appreciating them for some time. This page describes changes currently taking place at WISE-Paris to maintain that level of service, and ways in which you can contribute.

WISE-Paris came into being twenty years ago, in 1983. Since then, its development and national and international achievements have demonstrated the extent to which an independent hub for professional expertise and original information on energy issues had a place in France.

Five years ago, WISE-Paris launched its Plutonium Investigation project. This service, based on a free-access web site, provides information and analyses of the plutonium industry and more general nuclear and energy policy issues.

WISE-Paris and Plutonium Investigation have established themselves as references in the energy debate, and the skills and activities developed by our team continue to be as relevant. However, in spite of a useful social role, demonstrated time and again, the situation is precarious, and changing political and economic contexts have invited in-depth changes in the WISE-Paris agency's project.

In response to this, in 2002, Mycle Schneider, Director of WISE-Paris since its creation, and his deputy, Yves Marignac, instigated a collective process of reflection, involving the WISE-Paris team and its friends and partners, to outline the ways in which the project should develop.

This desire for in-depth change has been accompanied by a handover of leadership � prepared over a substantial period � from Mycle Schneider to Yves Marignac, who took over as Director in April 2003. Mycle Schneider will remain fully involved, as consultant, in some of WISE-Paris' activities and Plutonium Investigation publications.

The changes under way relate not only to this website, but more widely to the WISE-Paris agency. The aim is to conserve this unique entity by building on its wealth of twenty years of experience to create a centre of expertise that is better suited to today's concerns.

Several movements are contributing to widening the energy debate, raising new issues and bringing in new players. The international decline in the nuclear industry, increased awareness of sustainable development and globalisation, as well as a strengthened role for local authorities and opening of energy markets � to mention only the major issues � are re-launching the debate along new lines.

WISE-Paris' experience has given it a number of major advantages in meeting the social demand for independent expertise and information on the wider and more diverse aspects of energy. The changes introduced must allow WISE-Paris to broaden its traditional image to meet that demand.

Our future development must concentrate on re-deployment of the services proposed by the centre of expertise which WISE-Paris constitutes at present, with three objectives: better financing of the structure by making better use of its tools; better communication about its expertise beyond the nuclear field; and bringing consistency and dynamism to the project via this diversification.

These principles also apply to the service offered by Plutonium Investigation, presently facing the paradox of an increasing audience (as demonstrated by statistics on visits to the site that show well over 300 000 hits a month) and restricted finances. A specific aim is to develop this service to better respond to your expectations, while ensuring financing.

The solutions envisaged rely, in particular, on the introduction of a payed subscription to primary information review, as a complement to the present service, and/or change over to paid access, according to rules yet to be defined, to some of the information on the site. This approach seems, to us, to be in line with developments observed for numerous Internet services, including those of major media players (New York Times, CNN, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, etc.).

To find out what your expectations are, we are conducting a survey of users of this site in the form of a short questionnaire. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for giving up a few minutes to this procedure. The survey, of which the main findings will be communicated to you, will help decide on the developments to services offered by Plutonium Investigation.

More broadly, the changes undertaken at WISE-Paris will only achieve their true purpose � an appropriate and improved impact on energy debates � through a genuine mobilisation of the various partners, including the users of the services offered by the information and expertise centre. WISE-Paris is therefore aiming to transform its structure in the very near future into a Société coopérative d'intérêt collectif  (Scic � cooperative society of public interest), to combine development of professional information, study and consultancy services with a cooperative structure and recognition of a social role.

From that perspective, this page will bring you regular updates on the progress of the changes under way and will tell you how you can support this � to our mind essential � process.

With my best wishes,

Yves Marignac,
Director of WISE-Paris,
Chief Editor of Plutonium Investigation