The NKS-B CommTech seminars on effective use of communication technology in radiological and nuclear emergency preparedness
Communication technology is playing an increasingly greater role in nuclear and radiological
emergency preparedness. The reaction time requested by modern societies has been much
reduced in recent years. Nowadays the modern media is able to set up live satellite based
news broadcasts from almost any place in the world. The authorities must be able to respond
and provide assessments and guidance as quickly as possible. Communication technology
plays a key role here.
One complicating factor is that more and more measurement and decision support systems
are being automated, but a common interface for the different systems (and in different
countries) is still to be defined. Different communication protocols are in use, each may have
its own advantage, but how should one be chosen for common use?
Even the choice of how web technology is used is not as simple as it would seem at first sight.
Many web sites may appear to the ordinary user to be advanced and serving their purpose
well. Yet when one tries to print the information the right hand side of the displayed text may
be missing. In reality there have been substantial improvements in standardization of web
technology, but most web sites are still based on older standards. As a consequence their
performance is very browser specific and usually formatting code is mixed with the actual
contents. For emergency preparedness this means that far more stringent requirements need
to be placed on the communication channels than would be the case if new standards were
properly used (high bandwidth may be required were very low bandwidth might have been
sufficient). This also means fewer opportunities for using mobile devices (e.g. telephone with
web browsers) that are becoming more integrated into emergency response systems.
The NKS-B CommTech seminars
Communication technology is a rapidly expanding field, with no one expert having a complete
overview. This makes it difficult for potential users to identify the pitfalls and the possibilities
the new technique may offer.