G. Steinhauser, M. Villa, N. Bernt, H. Böck, M. Chudy, M. Gerstmayr, J. Handsteiner, D. Hainz, M. Hajek, T. Kulenkampff, R. Langegger, S. Merz, R. Mischitz, A. Musilek, E. Radde, H. Rauch, M. Salletmaier, J. Srajer, J.H. Sterba, C. Stettner, M. Veit:
"Information management of the Fukushima reactor accident in Austria";
The Fukushima Reactor Accident proved to be not only a challenge for Japanese nuclear engineers but also for nuclear scientists around the globe when dealing with the pressure of the media for new and reliable information. The lack of information - probably a result of the destroyed infrastructure due to the earthquake and the tsunami - was the greatest problem the nuclear scientists from the Atominstitut in Austria had to deal with. Further, due to the often uninterrupted series of interviews, it turned out to be problematic to keep ourselves up to date with the recent development in Japan. We could solve this problem by dividing the available human resources into an "information gathering division" and an "information distribution division". The process of gathering, cross checking and evaluating the incomeing news was performed in Atominstitut´s information center.
This internal institution was formed spontaneously by a set of five to ten experienced, advanced and graduate students who voluntarily provided reliable information to the scientific staff which then could be communicated to the media, the public and the authorities. We found that the availability of competent student volunteers was the only way to deal with the enormous public demand for reliable information. Further, thanks to the availability of the TRIGA Mark II reactor as a research tool, the Atominstitut condenses much of the nuclear expertise in Austria. These facts set our university in a privileged situation compared to other institutions which also searched for information. Since the Vienna University of Technology regards itself as an unbiased partner of the population, this was the only way to provide factual and unemotional information. The public feedback to this approach was overwhelmingly positive.
Fukushima reactor accident; Japan; Disaster management; Environment; Information management; Media management
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