Leadership, Human Performance and Internal Communication in Nuclear Accidents

Emergency Response Center, Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, Japan, March 2011

Technical Meeting on “Leadership, Human Performance and Internal Communication in Nuclear Accidents”, November 13-16, 2012, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna Austria

The leadership attributes, human performance and internal communication necessary during emergency situations are likely to differ in some respects from those in normal operations and more comprehensive information on what needs to be considered during these situations has been lacking. Member States have shown a great interest in receiving more guidance on this topic, particularly through recommendations given to the IAEA at technical meetings and workshops on management systems. The tsunami and subsequent accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan have accelerated the need for a document providing specific guidance on Leadership, Human Performance and Internal Communication in Nuclear Accidents. A document on this topic has been identified as one of the priorities planned for publication within the Management Systems area of the Nuclear Energy Series documents.

This Technical Meeting had three specific objectives:

  • To share international experiences and lessons learned, as well as exchange views on best practices and strategies related to managing the leadership, human performance and internal communication aspects of a nuclear accident situation;

  • To review and discuss a draft document entitled “Leadership, Human Performance and Internal Communication in Nuclear Accidents” (the intention was to receive participants’ feedback and recommendations for the enhancement of the document, and to provide additional practical examples as appropriate); and

  • To strengthen the international networking of specialists in this area.

In one of the keynote presentations, Mr. S. Kawamura, the Plant Manager in charge of the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant at the time of the accident, shared his experience and lessons learned during the event. Mr. N. Meshkati, from the United States, another key note speaker with expertise on risk reduction and reliability in complex technological systems, including nuclear power, provided scientific background and feedback from his involvement in the root cause analyses of various severe events including the Deepwater Horizon case, aviation, and public transportation systems accidents. The third keynote speaker, Mr. C. Candas, from Spain, presented those elements that are important for successful management of emergency events with a particular focus on human performance and leadership aspects.

Within the programme, participants of the Technical Meeting also gave a series of presentations. The presentations included international experts describing their experiences and lessons learned and representatives from Member States who had Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) systems in place or had taken action to optimize their EPR measures in light of the experience gained from the Fukushima Accident in March 2011.

This information and the expertise of the participants supported the review of the draft document on “Leadership, Human Performance and Internal Communication in Nuclear Accidents”, which has been developed during 2012. The participants strongly supported the need for, and the usefulness of, such a document and proposed a set of recommendations to be considered by the Agency in the further development of the document. Feedback from the participants obtained from evaluation forms at the end of the meeting indicated that all of the participants found the meeting very relevant, useful, and informative.

The Technical Meeting achieved the objectives that had been identified. The meeting provided the participants with additional experiences and lessons learned from the Fukushima accident and from other Member States.

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