In the unlikely yet not impossible case of a future nuclear accident, what do we need to do (or not do) in order to improve the follow-up of affected populations and respond to their needs without creating unnecessary anxiety? This is what the European SHAMISEN project, led by Elisabeth Cardis, head of the Radiation Programme at ISGlobal, has tried to answer over the last 16 months. The results were presented at the final consortium meeting, which took place on March 23 at the OECD headquarters in Paris, followed by a workshop on March 24 with relevant stakeholders in the field who provided feedback on the draft document.
During the first day, around 40 consortium partners from eleven countries, plus key actors from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Japan involved in the follow-up of the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents, discussed the main deliverable of the 18-month project, i.e. a series of recommendations based on lessons learned from past nuclear accidents. On the second day, around 40 stakeholders representing international and European organisations, platforms and national institutions (including WHO, NEA-OECD, NERIS, CONCERT, EURADOS and ICRP) were invited to provide their input on the recommendations through a series of short presentations and specialised break-out sessions.
Overall, the project’s results were applauded by the various stakeholders, who stressed that its main strength is that it focuses its attention on the affected people, includes the psychosocial aspect as part of their well-being, goes beyond radiation and disease, and stresses the importance of empowering the populations to regain control of their lives.
“It has been a highly productive meeting during which we have received comments and constructive criticisms from the different stakeholders in the field” says Elisabeth Cardis. “This will help us improve the recommendations and increase their impact”.
The specific comments on recommendations provided by the participants will be incorporated into the draft document over the next month. Once the final document has been approved, a communication and translation strategy, outlined during the meeting by Rafael Vilasanjuan, director of ISGlobal’s Policy and Global Development Department, will be developed in order to communicate the recommendations to the different target audiences and promote their implementation at the regional and national level.
SHAMISEN is a project within the European Project for the European Radiation Research Area (OPERRA) and is expected to end on June 2017.