Uncertainty is a deep-seating problem of decision-making in emergency management and long-term rehabilitation of radiologically contaminated areas. Therefore, conservative assumptions and cautious approaches are often taken to protect the population. Such assumptions may result in more overall harm than good due to secondary causalities as observed following the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. It is therefore important to reduce uncertainties where practicable. It is also crucial to improve decision making for the protection of the affected populations in order to minimise disruption of normal living conditions.
CONFIDENCE project aims to close existing gaps in several areas, concentrating on the early and transition phase of an emergency but also dealing with longer-term decisions made during these phases. It brings together expertise from all four Radiation Protection Platforms to address scientific challenges dealing with model uncertainties and improvements in emergency management and radioecology (NERIS and ALLIANCE), situation awareness and monitoring strategies (EURADOS), risk estimation in the early phase (MELODI) and finally decision making and strategy development at local and national level (NERIS).
The work program of this project is defined to understand, reduce and deal with the uncertainty of meteorological and radiological data and their further propagation in decision support systems. These include atmospheric dispersion, dose estimation, food chain modelling and countermeasure simulations. Improvements in modelling in combination with monitoring will help obtaining a comprehensive picture of the radiological situation. It will clearly improve decision making under uncertainties. Decision making principles and methods will be investigated, ranging from formal decision aiding techniques to simulation based approaches. These will be demonstrated and tested in stakeholder workshops. Consideration of social and ethical aspects will be a key part of the work activities.
The objective of project TERRITORIES is to build a methodological approach to reduce uncertainties to a fit-for-purpose level in support of the decision-making process. This will be done by encompassing stakeholder involvement to assess and manage doses associated with long-lasting exposure situations of both human and wildlife populations.
This will be achieved by:
- targeting harmonized guidance at the European level,
- being unified, i.e. applicable to all types of long-lasting exposure situations,
- being made available to those in charge of making decisions, and
- considering all relevant sources of uncertainty.
The targeted outcome of the TERRITORIES project is to provide guidance on producing fit-for-purpose information to co-build decision amongst stakeholders. This will support management of territories, where human populations and wildlife are exposed to long-lasting environmental radioactivity significantly above the natural radiological background.