Policy Brief Presents Recommendations for Nuclear Disaster Risk Communication

  • 2016•03•14     Tokyo

    A new UNU-IAS Policy Brief addresses the challenges of risk communication in the context of nuclear disasters. Nuclear Disasters and Risk Communication: Learning from Fukushima by Akiko Sato (Research Associate, UNU-IAS) focuses on the case of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to discuss some of the key issues for risk communication, and provide recommendations for effective policies and strategies that can contribute to a sustainable recovery and reduce future risks.


    Risk communication efforts after the Fukushima nuclear disaster face a range of challenges: disparities in access to information and perceptions of risk among the affected people, uncertainties in radiation science and its technical nature, persistent public distrust, and the complexity of the disaster recovery process. This underscores that risk communication in the context of nuclear disasters should be continuous, timely, inclusive and context-sensitive.

    This policy brief recommends that:

    • Risk communication is continuous, preparing for potential crises and using stakeholder discussions and joint monitoring and evaluation of risks related to the nuclear industry.
    • Emergency communication mechanisms are established and utilised to ensure timely provision of situation-specific risk information.
    • The limits of scientific knowledge and variations in expert views are openly discussed, with public risk perception and concerns in mind.
    • Post-disaster radiation risk communication and dialogues on other recovery challenges are integrated in policymaking and implementation.

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    This policy brief is an output of the UNU-IAS Fukushima Global Communication Programme, a research initiative examining impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident of 11 March 2011 on people and society, the challenges of the recovery process in Fukushima, and related issues of risk and information provision.