Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

E.M Ngotho Radiation Safety Authority – Kenya Regulation and Authorization Email: mutandaa@gmail.com

International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

Radiological or nuclear emergencies are some of the situations that can rapidly escalate into unmanageable scenarios as evidenced by past accidents. In countries keen to embrace nuclear power production like Kenya we have to confront the question of what would be an effective communication mechanism from the beginning to the end of an emergency and leading to appropriate measures to mitigate or reduce the threat.

International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

We now have bids on consultancy for the strategy and legal framework for a nuclear power plant. The plan is to build a 1000MWe by the year 2017 to take care of the increasing energy needs of the country We have had a lot of dissent in light of the recent accident in Japan and we have to convince everyone that it is workable.
International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

In our country we have come to the realisation that communication will have to be integrated and managed in such a way that should an emergency occur we have a clear line of communication that extends from the initial responders to the top decision
There is also the realisation that the communication mechanism will have to be embedded in the respective laws so that all actors know what they should do.

International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

Emergency preparedness plans in place seem to focus more on how to respond to an emergency while leaving out the important aspect of how information should be managed and communicated. This will change in a NPP scenario. I was privileged to be assigned observer status in one of the developed countries in southern Africa where a full blown nuclear emergency was simulated. Surrounding the plant was a resident community. The way information was managed and communicated was in an elaborate and coordinated manner.
International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective

Actual incidents of a radiological nature which have been reported in Kenya and maybe in developing nations have been few and far in between probably because:
• They involve mostly low category sources or material which may be deemed by others to be not very serious while we the safety officials know that it is very important to report all incidents • Secondly they could have been actually occurring and they are not reported due to lack of an established mechanism of communication

This is going to change with the introduction of a comprehensive bill that will instruct on incident analysis and reporting.
International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

Effective communication of a nuclear or radiological emergency – A developing country’s perspective
Conclusion In light of the above we are doing the following:
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We are working closely with the IAEA to develop a comprehensive nuclear energy policy that will include emergency response and its communication strategy. This is as the IAEA approves our intention to set a NPP We are also working closely with US NRC in terms of training and consultancy. Our National Disaster Operations Centre has representatives from the nuclear industry.

International Experts Meeting on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 201

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