Guide for improvements of solutions for good practices and coordination for ionizing radiation information sources

Metka Kralj, Irena Daris, Nadja Železnik, Milena Marega, Claire Mays, Grazyna Zakrzewska, Daniela Diaconu, Tanja Perko

    Research outputpeer-review


    WP1 of the project EAGLE is dealing with the education, training and information (ETI) materials and activities provided by the representatives of public and private institutions that communicate about the ionizing radiation, its risks, and radiological protection issues in EU member states. Information sources were divided into two basic groups that can be collectively called “nuclear industry, regulators and policy makers” and “medical institutions”. Citizens generally accept the exposure to ionizing radiation due to medical procedures and reject it when it is linked with nuclear energy production. The examples of ETI materials from “medical” and “nuclear” institutions revealed a great difference in objectives of ETI materials from respective information sources. While the medical information sources clearly speak about the effects of radiation on human body and compare positive and negative impacts of ionizing radiation for a defined patient, the nuclear industry, regulatory and policy-maker information sources provide either scientific explanation of ionizing radiation, or try to convince citizens that there are strict safety measures, that everything dealing with nuclear technology is under control and that exploitation of nuclear energy is economically and even environmentally beneficial. An analysis of relevant aspects of ETI materials and activities was performed by on-line survey and supplemented by the interviews with top management of information sources to evaluate the communication culture in the organizations. Examples of ETI materials provided by information sources or found on websites were evaluated; general, good and bad practices were noted. Results were presented in the project delivery D 1.1 (Analysis of education and training materials and activities regarding the ionizing radiation). Eventual specific aspects of communication strategies and ETI materials and activities during and after the Fukushima accident were also analyzed and presented in the project delivery D 1.2 (Analyses of ETI materials in EU related to Fukushima accident). It was confirmed that the information sources are fully aware of the need for good communication with stakeholders, with the general public or civil society in particular. However, a lot needs still to be done to reach a mutual understanding, respect, acceptance and confidence on the side of information sources and information recipients. New communication channels provided by social media are appreciated by the citizens and are very useful in crisis situations. Results of the analysis of the impact of Fukushima accident on general communication approaches in EU member states indicated that this nuclear accident did not have a long lasting impact on communication practices of information sources. This fact indicates that communication sources have a rather rigid approach to communication activities. It can be one of the reasons that the communication gap between the public and the information sources is maintained for decades despite obvious efforts of information sources. As the objective of the project EAGLE was to analyze the status quo in ETI materials and activities and to propose the improvements, the conclusion about rigidity remains only a hypothesis.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherEC - European Commission
    StatePublished - 10 Aug 2016

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