Effective communication with the public in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency will be the topic of discussion at an IAEA symposium to be held in Vienna next week. The event will be webcast live on the IAEA website.
The International Symposium on Public Communication of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies will bring together communication and Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) experts from around 100 countries to discuss the challenges of public communication during these emergencies and innovative ways to address them, as well as ways to strengthen public communication strategies, which are a key element of national EPR frameworks.
“The public wants simple and clear information quickly. It is particularly difficult in a highly technical field such as nuclear power. It takes time to get accurate information, but in the evolving context of social media, disinformation spreads quickly, ”said Jason Cameron, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief communications officer at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, who will chair the event.
The symposium, which will take place October 1-5, is organized in cooperation with nine international organizations and will bring together speakers and participants from all levels of government, international organizations, regulatory authorities, health services and medias.
Presentations, panels and poster sessions will focus on the role of public information officers, best practices and lessons learned, and look at the steps needed to improve public communication in emergencies.
“Organizing a symposium dedicated to communicating with the public before, during and after emergencies is a valuable opportunity for practitioners around the world to share their unique experiences, develop a common understanding of the main challenges and discuss possible solutions”, Cameron said. Noting that it is particularly difficult to quickly communicate information to the public in an emergency, he said: “The wide range of disciplines that will be represented underlines the variety of distinct roles and responsibilities in the development of preparedness programs. emergency situations and the management of an emergency response.
At the event, the five finalists of the Young Innovative Communicators Competition, launched by the IAEA ahead of the forum, will also present their ideas on the future of emergency communication. The competition invited people aged 18 to 25 from IAEA member states to submit their innovative ideas on how to communicate nuclear or radiological emergencies to the public.
The symposium is organized in cooperation with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies Rouge, the International Labor Organization, INTERPOL, the Nuclear Energy Agency, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Meteorological Organization.