Nuclear Power Plants are going Virtual for Communications Trainings and Exercises

Nuclear Power Plants are going Virtual for Communications Trainings and Exercises

It is important for nuclear power plants and Offsite Response Organizations (OROs) to develop and practice effective strategic communication to meet training and exercise requirements such as: 

  • NUREG-0654 FEMA-REP-1, Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants;
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise Criteria identified in the Federal Registry Radiological Emergency Preparedness: Exercise Evaluation Methodology (66 FR 47526-47546); and
  • State, local, and tribal requirements.

  

Why Virtual Training Solutions? 

Response to COVID-19 has presented challenges in meeting training and exercise requirements since many in-person activities are not an option, however, a successful pivot from in-person to virtual engagements will allow nuclear power plants and ORO’s to continue to meet customer’s mission requirements. 

To meet regulatory requirements as outlined in 10 CFR 50.47(b)(7); 44 CFR 350.5(a)(7), emergency preparedness and response training and exercise activities are conducted to ensure public education and information meet planning standards and evaluation criteria. Due to the inability of many nuclear power plants and OROs to hold in-person training and exercises, this requirement calls for an alternative approach. According to NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1, Rev. 2, “Alternative approaches provide an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments, applicants, and licensees to meet the planning standards in a manner that is different from what the evaluation criteria recommend…” 

These training and exercise solutions enhance strategic communication and address CERC principles such as effectiveness, consistency, and proficiency for a FEMA-evaluated exercise and when communicating technical information to non-technical audiences. 

 

Where to Start? 

SummitET’s Strategic Communications Program offers exercise solutions and training presented through its Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness (SCIP), delivered by experts, including a Certified Health Physicist, with extensive knowledge of the unique challenges presented by a radiation emergency. 

  

SCIP Radiation Safety Communication Workshops

See our full catalog of Radiation Safety Communication workshops from the Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness.
WHITE PAPER: Meeting Strategic Communications Virtual Solutions Requirements during COVID-19 Response For Nuclear Power Plants and Offsite Response Organizations

View the White Paper

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SummitET® Develops Virtual Communications Training Solutions for Power Plants 

SummitET® Develops Virtual Communications Training Solutions for Power Plants 

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET) has developed a virtual communications training solution specifically for Nuclear Power Plants and offsite response organizations. Training and exercise requirements have become a challenge since the response to COVID has many people working remotely or unable to train in-person. 

To meet regulatory requirements as outlined in 10 CFR 50.47(b)(7); 44 CFR 350.5(a)(7), emergency preparedness and response training and exercise activities are conducted to ensure public education and information meet planning standards and evaluation criteria. Due to the inability of many nuclear power plants and offsite response organizations to hold in-person training and exercises, this requirement calls for an alternative approach. According to NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1, Rev. 2, “Alternative approaches provide an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments, applicants, and licensees to meet the planning standards in a manner that is different from what the evaluation criteria recommend…”  

COVID-19 has presented challenges in meeting training and exercise requirements since many in-person activities are not an option, however, a successful pivot from in-person to virtual engagements will allow nuclear power plants and offsite response organizations to continue to meet customer’s mission requirements. 

SCIP Radiation Safety Communication Workshops

See our full catalog of Radiation Safety Communication workshops from the Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness.
WHITE PAPER: Meeting Strategic Communications Virtual Solutions Requirements during COVID-19 Response For Nuclear Power Plants and Offsite Response Organizations

View White Paper

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SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET)’s strategy is to build a sustainable future ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is tied to core values that are dedicated to making a positive contribution to society. SummitET’s emphasis on social...

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Meeting Strategic Communications Virtual Solutions Requirements during COVID-19 Response For Nuclear Power Plants and Offsite Response Organizations

Meeting Strategic Communications Virtual Solutions Requirements during COVID-19 Response For Nuclear Power Plants and Offsite Response Organizations

Introduction

 A global pandemic, civil unrest, and a volatile political climate have exposed the need for more advanced and strategic communication in uncertain times. Summit Exercises and Training (SummitET®) recognizes the uniqueness of strategic communications, particularly when communicating crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC). Radiation is a topic that is widely misunderstood and requires specialized CERC skills to address pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis messaging in order to meet stakeholder informational needs.

It is important for nuclear power plants and Offsite Response Organizations (OROs) to develop and practice effective strategic communication to meet training and exercise requirements such as:

  • NUREG-0654 FEMA-REP-1, Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants;
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise Criteria identified in the Federal Registry Radiological Emergency Preparedness: Exercise Evaluation Methodology (66 FR 47526-47546); and
  • State, local, and tribal requirements.

Response to COVID-19 has presented challenges in meeting training and exercise requirements since many in-person activities are not an option, however, SummitET has successfully made the pivot from in-person to virtual engagements to meet its customer’s mission requirements. SummitET’s Strategic Communications Program offers exercise solutions and training presented through its Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness (SCIP), delivered by experts, including a Certified Health Physicist, with extensive knowledge of the unique challenges presented by a radiation emergency. This white paper describes SummitET’s virtual and hybrid training exercise solutions for nuclear power plants and OROs. These training and exercise solutions enhance strategic communications and address CERC principles such as effectiveness, consistency, and proficiency for a FEMA-evaluated exercise and when communicating technical information to non-technical audiences.

Challenge

To meet regulatory requirements as outlined in 10 CFR 50.47(b)(7); 44 CFR 350.5(a)(7), training and exercise activities are conducted to ensure public education and information meet planning standards and evaluation criteria. Due to the inability of many nuclear power plants and OROs to hold in-person training and exercises, this requirement calls for an alternative approach. According to NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1, Rev. 2, “Alternative approaches provide an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments, applicants, and licensees to meet the planning standards in a manner that is different from what the evaluation criteria recommend…” SummitET offers alternative approaches to meet training and exercise requirements using virtual and hybrid learning and exercise environments.

 Strategic communications and CERC are an essential part of managing radiation emergencies. CERC fosters a common understanding of issues, protects public health and safety, and preserves organizational efficacy. Evidence-based CERC research and technical expertise make a critical difference in mitigating loss, maintaining trust and credibility, and strengthening relationships with stakeholders. All emergencies have a crisis and risk management component, yet there are few existing courses that teach both crisis AND risk communication. Scholars define risk communication as a science-based approach for communicating effectively in situations of high stress, high concern, or controversy. The Centers for Disease Control defines crisis communication as the process of providing facts to the public about an emergency, beyond an organization’s control, that involves the organization and requires an immediate response. The crisis may cause harm to an organization’s reputation or viability.  In real-world emergencies and training exercises, effective communication continues to be identified as a gap. Particularly, communicating scientific information of science-related information can be an even greater challenge. Organizations should integrate CERC into incident response. CERC integration improves outcomes by effectively engaging stakeholders and promoting a coordinated communication response.

 In a high-consequence scenario, both internal and external communications should be addressed. The ability to work with stakeholders such as transient populations, those with access and functional needs, regulatory agencies, and employees is critical for an effective communication response. Failure to adequately communicate risk serves to exacerbate the potential for miscommunication. Consequently, it is critical for nuclear power plants and OROs to collaborate with subject-matter experts to develop strategic communication and integrate CERC skills and processes for planning and performance in a crisis scenario. Particularly during COVID-19 response, the ability to deliver in-person training and conduct exercises has been drastically hampered, although training and exercise must continue to be conducted.

 

Solution

SummitET® experts are recognized as leading professionals in the development of strategic communications programs and hosts the SCIP, which offers in-person, virtual and hybrid training programs that extend beyond typical baseline training offered for those responsible for communicating prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery information for radiation emergencies. Our subject-matter experts are highly experienced, trained, and internationally known, current, and former communications professionals. Our team is comprised of a Certified Health Physicist with over 20 years’ experience responding to domestic and international radiation emergencies. Other subject-matter experts are experienced in radiation emergency response, strategic communications, state/local government and private sector emergency management, preparedness planning, federal law enforcement, and hazardous materials. They are skilled in helping organizations assess, plan, and build capacity to effectively manage and message internal and external communications for all-hazards and threats. This includes developing strategies for CERC communications, reputation management, digital and social media, internal communications, community education, and media relations practice. SummitET’s programs include a wide range of trainings, drills, tabletops (TTXs) and practical exercises designed to prepare communicators and senior leaders through informed, innovative, and dynamic instruction offered nationally and internationally.

SummitET Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness
SummitET currently leverages virtual training in an online, interactive, and participatory virtual classroom for the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). We assist sites across the DOE/NNSA enterprise to effectively integrate CERC into their communication strategies. This training delivery format has successfully positioned the DOE/NNSA enterprise to follow CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines by protecting its workforce, customers, and meet mission requirements. Using virtual training environments, SummitET can transition and customize nuclear power plants and OROs’ training requirements, enhance strategic communications, and employ decision-makers and communicators with CERC proficiency.
SummitET®’s SCIP also offers a hybrid training model where a segment of participants attends in-person classes, at a facility with appropriate social distancing and safety measures, while other participants join the workshop virtually. This model combines traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning objectives, and digital course delivery using the best option(s) for each learning objective.

SummitET’s virtual and hybrid trainings and exercises provide a learning environment to promote strategic communication and CERC skill development among nuclear power plants and OROs to:

  • Improve internal CERC skills and standardize response procedures across the spectrum of nuclear power plants and OROs to address stakeholder communities, transient populations, and those with access and functional needs.
  • Develop innovative processes grounded in evidence-based research and industry best practices.
  • Deliver strategic communications and CERC training and workshops using virtual and hybrid learning environments to meet requirements.

About Us

SummitET® is a veteran-owned small business specializing in preparedness solutions for organizations, businesses, all levels of government agencies, as well as an extensive list of international clients. Our personnel come from the military, emergency management, CERC, fire rescue, law enforcement, federal service, and health physics communities. Our customized solutions and services preserve lives and property through planning, preparation, prevention, mitigation, and response to technical, manmade, and natural disasters. SummitET® provides training, exercises, and technical consulting in the following core areas:

  • Radiation Emergency Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication
  • Workplace Violence and Active Shooter
  • CBRNE, WMD, or Terrorism
  • Critical Infrastructure, Red Cell, and Emerging Threats
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business Continuity

SCIP Radiation Safety Communication Workshops

See our full catalog of Radiation Safety Communication workshops from the Strategic Communications Institute for Preparedness.

Call to Action

Given SummitET’s expertise in radiation emergency strategic communications, CERC, and health physics and the SCIP, which provides in-person, virtual and hybrid learning environments for advanced training programs that extend beyond typical baseline training for communicators, we offer the opportunity to guide nuclear power plants and OROs through a variety of scenarios unique to the community. The SummitET® team has cultivated relationships with the private sector, federal, state, local, and tribal governments and is positioned to design, deliver, and conduct training and exercises with an interagency, intragovernmental, and cross-sector approach. Our technical subject-matter expertise and real-world experience in radiation emergency strategic communication and CERC effectively prepare individual participants and their organizations to meet training and exercise requirements.

Our approach engages nuclear power plants and OROs in a process using multiple, active learning techniques, blended learning theories, and leveraging instruction and facilitation by experienced staff. SummitET caters to the unique needs of each audience, providing the appropriate introductory, theoretical, and practical knowledge and performance-based skill development for capacity building. We provide participants with customized materials to guide them through their learning experience in a virtual or hybrid learning environment. Strategic communication offerings can be coordinated with virtual TTXs (discussion-based) exercises to help integrate this important capability into the overall response.

Contacts

Additional information regarding SummitET’s expertise can be obtained by contacting individuals listed here through the form below.

Holly Hardin Strategic Communications

Holly Hardin

Strategic Communications Program Manager

Steve Sugarman

Steve Sugarman

VP of Operations & Corporate Health Physicist

Download White Paper PDF

Get in touch with our experts

SummitET News

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET)’s strategy is to build a sustainable future ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is tied to core values that are dedicated to making a positive contribution to society. SummitET’s emphasis on social...

read more
SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET)’s strategy is to build a sustainable future ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is tied to core values that are dedicated to making a positive contribution to society. SummitET’s emphasis on social responsibility, and to hold itself accountable through internal policies and external relationships, will make a direct impact on our company, society, and future generations.

 

“We’re doing our part to help build a more sustainable future. When it comes to things like this, we try to focus on our big three: people, education, and partnerships  for greater preparedness.”

John Duda

CEO, SummitET

The people aspect of SummitET includes a focus on veterans, which make up over one-third of the company’s workforce. SummitET also aims to set the industry standard for an annual retention rate. Through the company’s efforts, we have achieved annual 93% retention rate  since the company’s inception in 2013.

SummitET has made huge strides in giving back to society by stressing the importance of preparedness-related education. SummitET has established a grant in the name of late Patrick F. Daly at the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts that will allow approximately 200 Advanced Governmental Studies students to participate in emergency management simulations over the next five years.

SummitET team photo 2022

An employee unit share incentive plan and support of community volunteerism are other examples of the emphasis that SummitET places on its partnerships. The unit share incentive plan allows employees to own a piece of the company as the company continues to grow, while the company’s support for others encourages team members to volunteer within their individual communities across the United States.

Learn about the full Social Responsibility Initiative here.

About SummitET®
Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET) is a veteran-owned small business that offers innovative preparedness solutions. When founded, our team sought to develop a flexible model that could be adapted to serve the needs of any organization, large or small. Drawing from a diverse base of experience in emergency management and response, as well as communications within the government, military, and private sectors, the SummitET team offers a comprehensive approach to the management and mitigation of risk. By combining the latest developments in learning and technology with the application of best practices in organizational behavior, strategy, and planning, SummitET has become an industry leader who serves a broad range of clients.

SummitET News

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET)’s strategy is to build a sustainable future ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is tied to core values that are dedicated to making a positive contribution to society. SummitET’s emphasis on social...

read more
SummitET International Alliance Ranked Third Globally for Tenth Consecutive Year

SummitET International Alliance Ranked Third Globally for Tenth Consecutive Year

Summit Exercises & Training LLC (SummitET®) international alliance of independent accounting and professional services firms, TAG Alliances®, has been recognized by Accountancy Age as one of the top three accounting alliances in the world. This is the tenth consecutive year that TAG Alliances has been ranked in this elite position. The rankings include 21 associations and alliances and are based on the collective revenues of each organization’s member firms.

“We are extremely proud to celebrate a decade of being the third largest accounting alliance in the world. This incredible achievement is a true testament to the success of our member firms,” stated TAG Alliances President & CEO, Richard Attisha.

In addition to being one of the largest alliances in the world, TAG Alliances also distinguishes itself as one of the few multidisciplinary alliances for accounting firms. Composed of TIAG® (The International Accounting Group), an alliance of independent accounting firms; TAGLaw®, an alliance of independent law firms; and TAG-SP®, a multidisciplinary alliance of strategic partners, TAG Alliances serves the full business needs of its members’ clients in over 110 countries.

 SummitET has proudly been a member of the TAG Alliances since 2020. Learn more about SummitET and TAG Alliances here.

View the Top 21 Associations and Alliances Rankings table.

TAG Alliances Ranked third

About TAG Alliances: Globally Connected. Locally Respected.

TAGLaw®, TIAG® (The International Accounting Group), and TAG-SP® (Strategic Partners) combine to form an international, multidisciplinary alliance of independent professional service firms known as TAG Alliances®

For more than 20 years, TAG Alliances members have leveraged the global reach and local expertise of fellow like-minded firms to facilitate the international needs of their clients. As one of the largest and most respected multidisciplinary alliances in the world, TAG Alliances members provide high quality, cost-effective, and value-driven legal, accounting, and other professional services across all industry and commercial sectors.

Being a member of TAG Alliances enables member firms to confidently refer their clients to top rated and responsive professional service firms. TAG Alliances members are well-respected local experts with a strong understanding of local business practices, laws, and customs and have deep-rooted relationships within their communities. These strengths give TAG Alliances members a true competitive advantage in providing a seamless and personalized experience for their clients’ global needs. Learn more at www.TAGAlliances.com.

SummitET News

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

SummitET® Announces Social Responsibility Initiative

Summit Exercises and Training LLC (SummitET)’s strategy is to build a sustainable future ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is tied to core values that are dedicated to making a positive contribution to society. SummitET’s emphasis on social...

read more