Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA
Before the exercise took place, public information officers at the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre trained CCHEN staff on how to use the social media simulator, which is a secure platform that simulates Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other channels. “If you want an effective response in an emergency, you need social media,” Casanueva said.
The platform allows public information teams working in emergency communication from anywhere in the world to realistically engage with a fabricated public via social media during a fictional emergency, enabling emergency procedures to be tested and evaluated with no risk of alarming the public, because the exercise takes place in a closed environment. As the Chilean exercise unfolded online, it could only be seen by the teams taking part in Santiago and Vienna.
Participants could see a monitoring dashboard that tracked the simulated content being published throughout the three-hour exercise. In addition to the simulated posts, dozens of fabricated news articles, TV news video clips and press releases were published to add pressure to CCHEN social media and communication experts.
Via the simulator, the public information team could post press releases from a website that simulated CCHEN’s, in coordination with the IAEA’s press statements published on a simulated IAEA webpage. The IAEA also published fabricated updates on a simulated USIE website, representing the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies, to keep up with the scenario.
The exercise proved that the coordination between the CCHEN team of communicators is well-defined. An improvement opportunity identified during the exercise is to prepare and approve social media content in advance to address possible emergency scenarios.
In emergency preparedness and response, the IAEA has defined responsibilities and specific functions mandated by its Statute, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (the Early Notification Convention), the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (the Assistance Convention) and relevant decisions of IAEA policy-making organs. Convention Exercises (ConvEx) are regularly conducted to strengthen the IAEA’s response arrangements and capabilities, as well as those of national authorities and support the implementation of these conventions.