Nuclear emergencies and natural disasters


  • Jean-Francois Lafortune, PhD
  • Edward Waller, PhD



nuclear emergency, natural disaster, preparedness, response, complex emergency


The Fukushima disaster following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan demonstrates the complexity of responding to nuclear emergencies during a natural disaster. Current international safety standards and guidance do not specifically address this type of situation. The potential conflicts between the response to the conventional impacts and the radiological consequences, real and perceived, can impede the effectiveness of the overall emergency response. The present article discusses the strategic and operational challenges likely to be encountered in such a complex emergency, and draws conclusions on how countries should better plan for the low probability but high consequence impacts of natural disasters coincident with a nuclear accident at a nuclear power plant.

Author Biographies

Jean-Francois Lafortune, PhD

Vice-President Operations, International Safety Research Europe, France

Edward Waller, PhD

Professor, Nuclear Engineering, Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


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How to Cite

Lafortune, PhD, J.-F., and E. Waller, PhD. “Nuclear Emergencies and Natural Disasters”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 17, no. 4, July 2019, pp. 257-69, doi:10.5055/jem.2019.0425.