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International Symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public

1–5 October 2018, Vienna, Austria

Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies Symposium 2018

Communicating effectively with the public and media about nuclear and radiological emergencies is a global challenge, which demands global and coordinated action. Producing the right message and disseminating it to the appropriate audience using the relevant channels and at the right time, all in order to support the effective implementation of protective actions and to minimize fear, require robust planning and preparedness. The rise of social media and citizen journalism as well as the acceleration of global communication have created both opportunities and challenges for nuclear communicators who need to plan, test, exercise, and adjust their activities to position themselves as the official voice of information for the public in an emergency.

Public communication has been highlighted as one of the most important challenges for the management of nuclear and radiological emergencies. By developing guidelines and organizing relevant training activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been working in and with Member States to assist in strengthening the capacity of organizations and governments to provide transparent, timely, clear, factually correct, consistent and easily understandable information to the public before and during emergencies. This symposium will foster new opportunities for coordination and boost the existing efforts of States and of international organizations with a role in the preparedness for and response to nuclear and radiological emergencies.

Objectives

This symposium will promote effective public communication during a nuclear or radiological emergency, and provide a forum for networking and information exchange. Participants will be invited to discuss the latest developments regarding communication with the public in a nuclear or radiological emergency, as well as to share their experiences and good practices, in order to further strengthen the preparedness of States and of the international community.

Uniting the communication and EPR communities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, the symposium will seek to achieve the following:

  • Present contemporary public communication solutions, including methods and tools;
  • Exchange information on national arrangements for public communication in a nuclear or radiological emergency;
  • Share experiences and good practices in public communication in a nuclear or radiological emergency; and
  • Discuss challenges and priorities in further strengthening public communication capabilities in the preparedness to respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency.

Audience

The symposium is intended to bring together:

  • Governmental officials with responsibilities in communicating with the public and media in a nuclear or radiological emergency;
  • Emergency planners, emergency responders and emergency managers;
  • Experts in communication on nuclear safety and security matters related to EPR;
  • Representatives of response and operating organizations;
  • Interested media and communication professionals;
  • Representatives of next generation nuclear professionals; and
  • Other stakeholders involved in public communication for nuclear and radiological emergencies.

Format and Topics

The symposium will consist of plenary sessions, technical sessions, poster sessions, side events, exhibits and demonstrations. Speakers in the technical sessions are encouraged to use, where possible, various presentation styles, such as storytelling and different presentation tools, without limiting themselves to PowerPoint.

The following areas have been identified to form the backbone of this symposium. Papers are invited on topics falling within these areas:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: public communication within command and control systems, public communication in emergency exercises, communication on evolving situations;
  • Stakeholder engagement: stakeholder identification, targeting messages to stakeholders in an emergency and routine, preparedness phase, emergency response phase and post-emergency stakeholder engagement;
  • Public communication channels and tools in emergencies;
  • Social media: platforms, procedures for use in emergencies, addressing rumours and myths, citizen journalism, speed of communication;
  • Effective communication: drafting, testing and translating messages, converting technical language to plain language, persuasive language;
  • Psychology of communication: social behaviour in emergencies, stress, verbal vs. non-verbal communication, human emotions;
  • Coordination of information: “One message, many voices”, organizational-level information coordination, coordination among national organizations, international level coordination;
  • Communicating in different types of emergencies: natural disasters, deliberate acts, technical malfunction;
  • “Am I safe?”: How to answer public questions in an emergency (e.g. “Am I safe?”), communicating basics of radiation and public health impacts; and
  • Lessons learned.

Registration

All persons wishing to participate in the symposium are requested to register in advance through the symposium web page.

No registration fee is charged to participants.

Key deadlines

30 March 2018:

  • Participation Form (Form A)
  • Form for Submission of a Paper (Form B) and abstract
  • Grant Application Form (Form C)

26 June 2018: Notification of acceptance of papers

3 September 2018: Symposium presentations submission

Exhibition

A limited amount of space will be available for commercial vendors' displays/exhibits during the symposium.

See more information and request for exhibition space here.

Greening

To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, the IAEA will organize this conference as a 'green meeting' according to the guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel.

There will be a focus on the areas of paper smart documentation, waste reduction and recycling, and environmentally friendly catering.

Conference app

The IAEA Conferences and Meetings App provides a one-stop access to information on the Conference and  exhibitions. The app also allows users to put together their own personalized schedule of events. Via this app participants will be able to view contributed papers and the latest conference programme, message other participants, and view PowerPoint presentations released after the event. Participants will receive an email inviting them to register for the app approximately one week before the conference.

For iPhone or iPad users, get your free download through the Apple iTunes Store; those with Android devices can visit the Google Play Store.

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