• Efforts for nuclear disaster preparedness by the IFRC
Efforts for nuclear disaster preparedness by the IFRC

Efforts for nuclear disaster preparedness by the IFRC

In collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Japanese Red Cross Society has developed guidelines for nuclear disaster preparedness, established programs for education and training to prepare for nuclear disasters and disseminated information at home and abroad. This special content introduces the efforts which have been made by the International Federation since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.

The massive earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck the Pacific coast of the eastern Japan on March 11, 2011 caused the accident at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima Daiichi accident). This was a great shock for Japan as well as the rest of the world. Efforts made by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for nuclear disaster preparedness and response go way back to the nuclear power plant accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in April 1986. The Fukushima Daiichi accident made the IFRC and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recognize again the enormity of the nuclear disaster impact. At the 18th IFRC General Assembly (GA) in November 2011 which was the first GA after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, a resolution was adopted on “preparedness to respond to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear accidents” in which playing a role in supporting nuclear disaster survivors by the IFRC and National Societies is referred to.

Working Group Meeting on Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Working Group Meeting on Nuclear Disaster Preparedness

In January 2012, the IFRC and the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) whose country experienced the Fukushima Daiichi accident invited National Societies related to response to nuclear accidents to Tokyo and hosted “Working Group Meeting on Nuclear Disaster Preparedness”. At the meeting, the participants discussed how the 2011 GA resolution should be operationalized. Another meeting called “National Society Consultation Meeting on Nuclear Disaster Preparedness” was held subsequently in May of the same year, where an approach for the operationalization was agreed. In February 2013, a unit to promote the operationalization was set up at the IFRC Secretariat in Geneva. Also, “Reference Group Meeting on Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Preparedness” (Reference Group Meeting) was established. The first and second meetings were held in Vienna in August 2013 and in Geneva in January 2014, respectively. The venue of the third meeting held in 2014 October was Fukushima, the area affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The fourth meeting took place in Berlin in September 2015. During these meetings, discussions were made in regard to the agenda including creation of guidelines for nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness, development of learning tools for response to such emergencies, survey of the response capabilities of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and how the Red Cross should collaborate with related international organizations.

The International Conference Centre of Geneva (CICG)
The International Conference Centre of Geneva (CICG)

In December 2015, four years after the resolution adopted at the 2011 IFRC GA, the 20th GA was held in Geneva. On the sidelines of the GA, a side event relating to preparedness for nuclear emergencies took place and introduced the activities that have been conducted by the Reference Group Meeting members. Those activities and the outcome were shared with National Societies gathered from around the world to participate in the GA.

For the timeline of the activities, please click here.