Communicating with the Public during the Fukushima Emergency:

Alumanda M. Dela Rosa
Director, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute
Presented at the IAEA International Experts’ Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency June 18-20, 2012 | Vienna, Austria

Outline of Presentation
   

National emergency response Communication strategies Communicating the accident to the public Outcome and conclusion

• 13 March 2011 - the PNRI Director convened the Executive Coordinating Council per PNRI RADPLAN , and activated the • different response teams under the Radiological Emergency Manager:
  

Technical support team (pool of experts) Radiation monitoring teams Media coordination team

Under the RADPLAN, the Media Coordination Team was tasked to  organize press conferences and media briefings  arrange interviews of PNRI officials, spokespersons and scientists with radio and television broadcasters and print journalists  coordinate photo coverages of PNRI technical support activities by photojournalists

• Involve the highest level of decision makers (Secretary of S & T and the President) • Use information from verified sources only • Synchronize the release of information with events unfolding in the reactors ; be factual and transparent • Engage the print, radio, TV, and cyber media • Give media access to scientists and laboratories used during the accident


briefed the


on the incident

Press Conference at Malacañan Palace with PNRI

PNRI channelled information through media briefings via a network of government agencies such as the Philippine Information Agency and the privately-owned media

• PNRI calibrated its release of information to the media depending on the events unfolding in Japan and the national response to these events:
    

Progress of the nuclear emergency in Japan results of daily ambient radiation monitoring Environmental contamination in Japan incl. food products Results of radioactivity measurements of imported food Results of screening of returning nationals and media from Japan

On a daily basis, PNRI officials and technical support staff held daily meetings for the issuance of daily Information Bulletins

Prepared, posted and distributed  31 PNRI Information Bulletins

Provided  timely  factually correct  objective information to the public and the media

Provided replies to  over 2,000 inquiries by telephone and email

 50,000 hits registered on the PNRI website:

16 press conferences/media briefings, 48 TV coverages, and >50 radio interviews with officials and scientists

Monitored  over 500 news articles online and in print

BBC Flashnews: Japan gov't confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. Remain indoors first 24hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precaution, radiation may hit Philippines

Responded to hoax messages being disseminated by unknown sources through short message service (SMS) or text messages, emails, the internet and other means of communication

PNRI scientists were made accessible to the media . Here, a PNRI nuclear engineer explained the nuclear accident to media

Dose equivalent of eating a banana is around 100 nSv (according to University of Nevada, Reno Environmental Health and Safety)

Media was given access to radiation instruments for ambient radiation monitoring

Media was given access to laboratories and facilities used in measuring radioactivity in food products

• Radioactivity monitoring

Radiation portal monitors installed in Port of Manila scan container vans for radioactivity

  

 

Plant Status as of 11 May 2011: “Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious.”
Source: IAEA

Photo: DigitalGlobe

• Based on IAEA data as of May 11, 2011:

Gamma dose rates measured in Fukushima prefecture = 1.7 microsieverts per hour (μSv/h) Gamma dose rates measured in Ibaraki prefecture = 0.10 μSv/h In all other prefectures, gamma dose rates = below 0.1 µSv/h with a general decreasing trend

Fukushima Ibaraki

• Radioactivity monitoring

PNRI conducted radiation dose monitoring using a hand-held isotope identifier to monitor ambient air in various places in the Philippines

PNRI has been continuously monitoring the Philippines for radioactivity

Environmental radioactivity monitoring in selected areas in the Philippines

500 450 400 Activity Concentration (µBq/m3) 350 300 250

Activity Concentration of Key Radionuclides
Cs-134 Cs-137 I-131

150 100 50 0

Pre-screening for external contamination and possible radioiodine uptake of media persons and overseas Filipino workers who arrived from Japan

• Analysis of food samples imported from Japan as of May 19, 2011:
 

Total of 49 samples analyzed Found radioactivity levels lower than 3 Bq/kg of Cesium-137 and Cesium-134 and were almost at the limit of detection, and lower than 1 Bq/kg of Iodine-131

“The radiological and safety impact on the Philippines REMAINS INSIGNIFICANT as it had been since the beginning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.”

AS OF 19 MAY 2011

• The Philippine Government was able to give timely and factual information on the accident and its impact on public health and safety • The PNRI , as the nuclear regulatory body, performed its task of leading the national emergency response effectively and with credibility

• The Philippine media have been a good partner in communicating the impact of the accident to the public, and gained a better understanding of radiation and nuclear energy • All these collective actions allayed the fear and anxiety of the public towards the unfortunate nuclear event.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful