National Nuclear Security Administration

Radiation protection professionals focus on global communication challenges at IAEA symposium

November 8, 2018

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Radiation professionals from DOE/NNSA, REAC/TS, Environmental Protection Agency, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory joined peers at international symposium.
From left, Ann Heinrich, Carol Iddins, Dan Blumenthal, Angela Shogren, Jessica Wieder, Shelley Laver, and Brooke Buddemeier.

During the chaos of any unplanned event, one of the greatest challenges is being able to communicate useful and clear information to the public in a timely manner.

Dr. Daniel Blumenthal
consequence management program manager in NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Incident Response

Radiation protection professionals from around the world aligned their efforts last month to communicate effectively with the public in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

NNSA joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and over 400 participants from 90 countries, in Vienna for the first International Symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public.

“During the chaos of any unplanned event, one of the greatest challenges is being able to communicate useful and clear information to the public in a timely manner,” said Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, consequence management program manager in NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Incident Response. “The global symposium allowed professionals from different specialties in radiological and nuclear matters to gather and exchange best practices to reach the same goal.”

In an age of instant access to information, radiation protection professionals face an even more daunting task when it comes to communication. Through various presentations, participants were able to gain tools that would help them coordinate with other partners to provide the public accurate information.

Several radiation protection professionals from NNSA presented at the symposium. They covered the challenges and priorities needed to strengthen public communication during a nuclear or radiological emergency, stressing the need for rapid and accurate release of information and the importance of gaining and maintaining public trust.

Additionally, participants gained tools to plan ahead and to use common language and concepts familiar to the public. The consistent use of these tools can help the public easily grasp topics and concepts needed to keep them safe in an emergency.

NNSA professionals in a variety of disciplines including nuclear policy makers, international affairs specialists, medical doctors, communications experts and health physics professionals participated in the symposium.