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CN-210 Chair's Summary - International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communications Effectiveness During a Nuclear or Radiological Em

CN-210 Chair's Summary - International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communications Effectiveness During a Nuclear or Radiological Em

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Published by: IAEAInformation on Jun 22, 2012
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07/13/2013

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International Experts MeetingEnhancing Transparency and Communications Effectiveness inthe Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency
18-20 June 2012, Vienna
Chairperson’s Summary
 
 Background 
 In the course of the implementation of the International Atomic
Energy Agency‟s (IAEA)
Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that was
approved by the IAEA Board of Governors and the Board‟s decision
was unanimously endorsed by the IAEA General Conference in 2011,the IAEA Secretariat held a three-day
 Inter 
national Experts’ Meeting 
 Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in theevent of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency
on 18-20 June 2012, atIAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria.The objective of this
International Experts‟ Meeting (
IEM) was toanalyse relevant aspects for enhancing transparency and effectivenessin communications during a nuclear or radiological emergency, inlight of the 11 March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Station (“Fukushima accident”)
, and to identify lessons learnedand best practices for improving information dissemination.The three-day IEM featured 38 expert presentations from keynotespeakers and panelists and provided an open forum for discussion.Media were invited to attend and participated in the programme.The IEM revealed a high level of interest in sharing experiences andlessons learned in the area of communication and informationdissemination towards strengthening the global nuclear safetyframework.
 
It should be noted that discussions dealt with communication in anemergency and did not cover notification systems and protocols.The present Summary was produced by the Chairperson and the Co-Chairpersons of the IEM on the basis of the proceedings of the IEM.
Overview
The Fukushima accident posed communication challenges of unparalled proportion. IEM participants noted that the Fukushimaaccident highlighted the importance of effective and transparentcommunication in the overall response to a nuclear or radiologicalemergency. Transparency, effective communication, anddissemination of information in context, inter alia, help decisionmakers, the public and other stakeholders assimilate the necessaryinformation to understand the nature of an emergency and makeinformed decisions to ensure public health and safety. The Fukushimaaccident also demonstrated that providing effective communication isone of the biggest challenges in an emergency. Efforts need to betaken to ensure early, frequent and transparent communication within,between and amongst relevant stakeholders. One aspect of transparentcommunication is the quality of content and not necessarily thequantity.Emergency communications occur in a dynamic, complex andglobalized environment. It builds on stock knowledge acquiredthrough long-term practice which, in turn, leads to long-termcredibility of relevant organizations and regulatory authoritiesengaged in nuclear safety. There is a clear link between routine andcrisis communications. Public trust is the basis for organizationalcredibility, so the focus for communicators involved in response to anuclear emergency needs to focus on building, strengthening,maintaining and, when necessary, rebuilding this trust. The trust and
 
credibility that are achieved before an emergency can be instrumentalin maintaining public confidence and facilitating management of response actions during and after an emergency. Emergencypreparedness in the area of communication can be strengthened byfurther developing and implementing procedures that ensure effectivecommunication before, during and after an emergency.In order to be effective, public communications need to employ theuse of plain language that is understandable to non-technicalaudiences. Lessons may be learned from best practices in other fieldswhich use plain language to make technical informationunderstandable. To maintain credibility and combat misinformation,relevant organization needs to be the first to provide informationabout an emergency. Public communication should be early, clear andfrequent.The Fukushima accident was the first time that many organizationsused social media tools in communicating during a nuclearemergency. The appropriate use of new information technologies ischallenging and should be introduced and tested in the preparednessphase. Traditional media remains one of the main informationchannels. Communication using both traditional and new or socialmedia tools should be included in preparedness phase activities, suchas emergency exercises.A nuclear emergency involves not only radiological effects but alsosociological, psychological, and economic effects on the lives of affected population. Emergency preparedness and response plans of States need to address these aspects.
 Major Communications Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Accident

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Patrick Otoro added this note
I'm very sure that if these recommendations are effectively carried out by participating countries, there will enhanced communication between nuclear authorities, the media and the public. I'm glad ai attended the meeting. Here in Nigeria, my President Dr Goodluck has just commissioned a nuclear Researchers' Hostel and Conference Centre built for the purpose improving Nigeria's Nuclear Power prog
graine liked this

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