Further development of the radiological situation picture

Project management

Mesh & Moser Situation Management


27.01.2020 – 23.07.2021


Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz

Contact person

René Kastner

National radiological emergencies represent a complex stressful situation for the responsible authorities as well as for those affected and are also perceived as such by the general public and the media. Any communication with these two focus groups, authorities on the one hand and affected, general and media public on the other hand, must therefore be timely and understandable and have to satisfy the interest of the respective focus group. The aim of any information and communication in radiological emergencies is to guarantee decision-making, which is appropriate to the situation. Furthermore, it should enable protection goals to be achieved and inappropriate reactions, which do more harm than good, to be avoided. The Radiation Protection Act in Germany specifies that in the event of a national radiological emergency, the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is setting up a Radiological Situation Center (RLZ). The RLZ is responsible for the creation of a radiological situation report and lies within the responsibility of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The situation picture provides relevant information on the type and scope of the emergency, the current situation and the expected development. Thus, it forms the basis for decisions by those responsible within the authorities in charge with regard to necessary protective measures and other measures of emergency and disaster protection. The situation report created by the Radiological Situation Center in the event of national radiological emergencies is therefore the central and most important document for information on the situation in Germany.

The aim of the project is to examine the current radiological situation report for comprehensibility and usability for its users and addressees and to assess the needs of public information officers related to information provided in the situation report. Based on this analysis, the document will be further developed to make sure that it is also understood by government officials and users who do not have any radiological knowledge, especially regarding radiation protection. This shall facilitate to quickly achieve a uniform and clear level of knowledge regarding the location of a radiological emergency among all addressees and users of the situation picture. Finally, the provision of effective, timely and understandable information on the radiological situation to the media and the public is meant to be enhanced by improving the current situation report. Social media are also given special attention.

Apart from DCNA, the project team consist of Mesh & Moser Situation Management and Four Elements Research & Advisory Group. DCNA is responsible for carrying out and evaluating numerous interviews with people from the heterogeneous group of recipients in order to determine the desired improvements of the situation report.

Over the summer, the majority of the interviews with experts from German disaster control and from the field of crisis communication were successfully completed. The project partners were given exciting insights into the work of different crisis teams and the challenges facing communication specialists in the event of an incident. After the interviews were subjected to a detailed analysis in a further step in order to filter out the central findings for an optimization of the radiological picture of the situation in Germany, the results were processed in a comprehensive interim report. This created a good basis for the next steps in the project, which will start at the beginning of next year.