Planning for the unthinkable, "accident State" Morocco and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have prepared a two-day emergency exercise starting on 20 November 2013 during which the response to a dirty bomb explosion will be assessed. Fifty-eight States and 10 international organizations will test their national and international preparedness to respond to a radiological emergency triggered by nuclear security event. The exercise, codenamed Bab Al Maghrib marks the first time such scenario is exercised on such a large and international scale. The IAEA and participating international organizations greatly appreciate Morocco's offer to prepare and host this exercise.
Bab Al Maghrib is part of the ConvEx-3 IAEA exercise programme. ConvEx-3 exercises are conducted every three to five years and have, until now, always been based on an accident at a nuclear power plant. The scenario this year is different: a dirty bomb explosion with threats of further attacks and widespread radiological consequences.
How will Morocco, the IAEA, its Member States and international organizations respond and work cooperatively in the early phase of such an event? Nationally they will rely on established national plans and procedures and internationally on their bilateral agreements and on the IAEA Operations Manual for Incident and Emergency Communication, on the IAEA web based Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergency and on the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations.
The IAEA's specific objectives for the exercise are to evaluate the effectiveness of the IAEA's Incident and Emergency System and its emergency response plan; to evaluate the effectiveness of communication with Morocco, other Member States, media and the public; to test and evaluate the IAEA Secretariat's arrangements for consequence assessment and possible event progression; and to test arrangements for coordination of provision of international assistance.
The scenario of Bab Al Maghrib was developed by the Moroccan National Exercise Committee. The international dimension of the exercise was coordinated by the Working Group on Coordinated International Exercises as part of the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE).