It is essential that those involved in an emergency response fully understand the severity of the emergency when it happens. They should also know how to effectively communicate the radiological health hazard to the public, so that protective actions - such as evacuation, sheltering, or medical attention - can be promptly and safely implemented.
Following the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011, the IAEA developed a publication that provides practical tools needed by those involved in emergency response, including decision makers, to protect the public in case of a severe emergency at a nuclear power plant.
A workshop convened by the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) is being held in Vienna this week based on this new publication. Attending are some 40 participants from 15 different Member States that either have nuclear power plants or are located near nuclear power plants. The participants are primarily emergency planners and technical support staff.
The workshop consists of a series of lectures, work sessions, a tabletop exercise and group discussions. During the workshop, participants are trained to apply tools developed for decision makers to help them take the necessary actions to protect the public. The workshop addresses actions to be taken based on plant conditions before or shortly after a release of radioactive material. It also addresses Operational Intervention levels (OILs) that can be applied immediately during an emergency to determine if protective actions are needed, based on measurements taken after a release.
Participants will also learn to use tools to communicate the radiological health hazard to the public. These tools were developed by the IAEA to answer key questions during emergencies, such as "Am I safe?" and "What do I need to do to protect myself and family?"