An IAEA workshop aimed at further strengthening nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response capabilities concluded today in Fukushima, Japan.
More than 40 participants from 18 countries took part in the four-day Response and Assistance Network (RANET) workshop, which included a field exercise in areas affected following the March 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
During the exercise, participants conducted radiation monitoring and environmental sampling and analysis. They measured the contamination level of the ground surface and conducted gamma spectrum analysis and vehicle-based monitoring – activities that are conducted following any nuclear or radiological incident or emergency. Results were then compared amongst participants.
RANET is a network currently comprising 22 countries through which the IAEA can facilitate the provision of expert support and equipment on request under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.
Pat Kenny, IAEA RANET Officer, said the workshop provided an opportunity to practice cooperation between international teams that would be deployed through RANET following an emergency.
“By bringing together so many experts from different countries in one place, the workshop helped us learn how international teams can work together to provide assistance in a nuclear or radiological emergency situation,” he said. “It also enabled us to improve the coordination of such assistance, and it gave participants the opportunity to learn from each other.”
The workshop was the first activity conducted from the IAEA RANET Capacity Building Centre, a new training centre based in the city of Fukushima that was designated earlier this week with the support of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Fukushima Prefecture. The Centre will host RANET and other training courses, workshops and exercises aimed at enhancing nuclear emergency preparedness and response, both in Japan and worldwide, in light of the March 2011 accident.
The workshop and the Centre’s activities are part of the IAEA’s work to further strengthen international emergency preparedness and response, as guided by the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that was unanimously endorsed by IAEA Member States in September 2011.