Local Populations Facing Long-Term Consequences of Nuclear Accidents: Lessons learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima

Hériard-Dubreuil, Gilles and Baudé, Stéphane (2015). Local Populations Facing Long-Term Consequences of Nuclear Accidents: Lessons learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fukushima Global Communication Programme Working Paper Series. United Nations University.

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  • Sub-type Working paper
    Author Hériard-Dubreuil, Gilles
    Baudé, Stéphane
    Title Local Populations Facing Long-Term Consequences of Nuclear Accidents: Lessons learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima
    Series Title Fukushima Global Communication Programme Working Paper Series
    Volume/Issue No. 17
    Publication Date 2015-12
    Place of Publication Tokyo
    Publisher United Nations University
    Pages 6
    Language eng
    Abstract After a high scale nuclear accident, local populations face a high level of complexity, whereas their day-to-day life is seriously disrupted by the short and long term consequences of the event. Local populations have to perform numerous daily life decisions and trade-offs (including the choice to leave, stay or return in the contaminated zone) in order to cope with a whole range of unfamiliar issues associated with the long-term radioactive contamination. The post-accident situation after the Chernobyl accident provides many example of the serious disruption of daily life experienced by the population living in the territories affected by long term radioactive contamination. Based on surveys performed in Ukraine (1990-1991) and Belarus (1992-1994) on the living conditions of the populations in the contaminated territories, the ETHOS project in Belarus (1996-2001) experimented an original approach of post-accident rehabilitation where a group of European experts have provided the population of a village a scientific, technical and organisational support, in order to enable them to achieve, at personal and community levels, concrete improvements of their living conditions, covering the many affected dimensions of their life quality. Grounding on the ETHOS results, the international CORE project (COoperation for REhabilitation of living conditions in the Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus”) was then initiated (2003-2009) at an inter-regional level involving the participation of the Belarus Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Commission (EC) and a dozen European member states, together with European NGOs. The CORE project has experimented a new bottom-up scheme of post-accident rehabilitation governance aiming at supporting local public and private recovery initiatives in partnership with public, private or civil society organizations, at regional, national, and international levels. The return of experience of the Chernobyl and Fukushima post-accident situations based on the results of the European “PREPARE“ research brings many complementary insights on the complexity of nuclear post-accident situations involving long-term contamination, taking into account the specificity of the highly developed and interconnected social, economic, cultural and political context of Japan. This project was carried out in order to evaluate how and to what extent local populations can access reliable information to protect themselves and participate to collective decisions, as foreseen in the terms of the UNECE (United Economic Commission for Europe) Aarhus Convention (1998) on public information and participation. The analysis of the societal mechanisms in post-accident contexts makes it possible to identify the interactions of the different response paths of individuals and families, professionals, local communities, public authorities and experts after an accident, the role of values in these social mechanisms, as well as the impact of public policies on the resilience and social cohesion of local communities and on their capacity to build their own recovery strategies. It demonstrates the importance of the societal dimension of the response to post-accident situations. In effect, the capacity of local actors to build their response to the crisis depends on their capacity to build new forms of cooperation among themselves and with other actors and relevant networks.
    Keyword ETHOS project
    CORE project
    Copyright Holder United Nations University
    Copyright Year 2015
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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