The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Nuclear Emergency Response Planning Based on Participatory Decision Analytic Approaches

Kari Sinkko

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to be presented with due permission of the Department of Engineering Physics and Mathematics for public examination and debate in Auditorium E at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 9th of December, 2004, at 12 o'clock noon.

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This work was undertaken in order to develop methods and techniques for evaluating systematically and comprehensively protective action strategies in the case of a nuclear or radiation emergency. This was done in a way that the concerns and issues of all key players related to decisions on protective actions could be aggregated into decision-making transparently and in an equal manner. An approach called facilitated workshop, based on the theory of Decision Analysis, was tailored and tested in the planning of actions to be taken. The work builds on case studies in which it was assumed that a hypothetical accident in a nuclear power plant had led to a release of considerable amounts of radionuclides and therefore different types of protective actions should be considered. Altogether six workshops were organised in which all key players were represented, i.e., the authorities, expert organisations, industry and agricultural producers. The participants were those responsible for preparing advice or presenting matters for those responsible for the formal decision-making. Many preparatory meetings were held with various experts to prepare information for the workshops. It was considered essential that the set-up strictly follow the decision-making process to which the key players are accustomed. Key players or stakeholders comprise responsible administrators and organisations, politicians as well as representatives of the citizens affected and other persons who will and are likely to take part in decision-making in nuclear emergencies.

The realistic nature and the disciplined process of a facilitated workshop and commitment to decision-making yielded up insight in many radiation protection issues. The objectives and attributes which are considered in a decision on protective actions were discussed in many occasions and were defined for different accident scenario to come. In the workshops intervention levels were derived according justification and optimisation principles in radiation protection. Insight was also gained in what information should be collected or subject studied for emergency management. It was proved to be essential that information is in the proper form for decision-making. Therefore, methods and models to assess realistically the radiological and cost implications of different countermeasures need to be further developed. In the consequent assessments, it is necessary to take production, economic, demographic and geographical information into account. Also, the feasibility and constraints of protective actions, such as logistics, require further investigation. For example, there seems to exist no plans in the EU or Nordic countries to dispose radioactive waste that may result from decontamination.

The experience gained strongly supports the format of a facilitated workshop for tackling a decision problem that concerns many different key players. The participants considered the workshop and the decision analysis very useful in planning actions in advance. They also expected a similar approach to be applicable in a real situation, although its suitability was not rated as highly as for planning. The suitability of the approach in the early phase of an accident was rated the lowest. It is concluded that a facilitated workshop is a valuable instrument for emergency management and in exercises in order to revise emergency plans or identify issues that need to be resolved.

The pros and cons of the facilitated workshop method can be compared with the conventional approaches. The general goal in all methods is that key players would be better prepared for an accident situation. All participatory methods, when practiced in advance, also create a network of key players. Facilitated workshops provide the participants with an forum for structured dialogue to discuss openly the values behind the decision. Stakeholder network can evaluate and augment generic countermeasures but all the possible and feasible protective actions cannot be justified and optimised in depth. The ranking of protective actions depends on weight put on an attribute and is thus dependent on the problem at hand.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 7 publications:

  1. Sinkko K., Hämäläinen R. P. and Hänninen R., 2004. Experiences in methods to involve key players in planning protective actions in the case of a nuclear accident. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 109, numbers 1-2, pages 127-132.
  2. Hämäläinen R. P., Lindstedt M. and Sinkko K., 2000. Multiattribute risk analysis in nuclear emergency management. Risk Analysis 20, number 4, pages 455-467. © 2000 Blackwell Publishing. By permission.
  3. Bartzis J., Ehrhardt J., French S., Lochard J., Morrey M., Papamichail K. N., Sinkko K. and Sohier A., 1999. RODOS: decision support for nuclear emergencies. In: Zanakis S., et al. (editors), Decision making: recent developments and worldwide application. Proceedings of the 5th DSI Conference. Athens, Greece, July 1999, pages 381-395.
  4. French S., Walmod-Larsen O. and Sinkko K., 1993. Decision conferencing on countermeasures after a large nuclear accident. Report of an exercise by the BER-3 of the NKS BER programme. Risø-R-676(EN). Risø National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark, 24 pages. © 1993 Risø National Laboratory. By permission.
  5. Sinkko K., Ikäheimonen T. K. and Mustonen R., 1994. Decision analysis of protective actions in forest areas. In: Lehto J. (editor), Cleanup of large radioactive-contaminated areas and disposal of environmental policy generated waste. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen, Denmark. TemaNord 1994: 567, pages 109-129. © 1994 Nordic Council of Ministers. By permission.
  6. Hämäläinen R. P., Sinkko K., Lindstedt M., Ammann M. and Salo A., 2000. Decision analysis interviews on protective actions in Finland supported by the RODOS system. STUK-A173. Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Helsinki, 57 pages.
  7. Ammann M., Sinkko K., Kostiainen E., Salo A., Liskola K., Hämäläinen R. P. and Mustajoki J., 2001. Decision analysis of countermeasures for the milk pathway after an accidental release of radionuclides. STUK-A186. Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Helsinki, 57 pages.

Keywords: nuclear emergency management, countermeasures, decision-making process, decision support, multiattribute risk analysis

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© 2004 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26