• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Assessment and Prognosis: Innovative Tools Support IAEA’s Emergency Response Role


A live demonstration of the Reactor Assessment Tool and its newly implemented prognosis workflow were presented during the 65th IAEA General Conference. (Photo: F. Llukmani/IAEA)

Continuous innovation is key to increasing effectiveness in many fields, and that of nuclear emergency response is no exception. This was demonstrated at an event held on the margins of the 65th IAEA General Conference today.

At the event, ‘Recent Developments in Support of the IAEA Assessment and Prognosis Emergency Response Role’, the IAEA presented an upgraded version of its Reactor Assessment Tool and the new Database of Source Terms. These two tools support assessment and prognosis activities conducted by the IAEA and national authorities in the event of a nuclear emergency at a nuclear power plant. Assessment refers to getting a technical understanding of what happened based on facts and measured data, while prognosis refers to anticipating how the situation could evolve in the hours, days or weeks following an accident.

The assessment of the situation and the prognosis of possible progression during an emergency is one of the IAEA’s five emergency response roles agreed with national authorities following the 2011 Fukushima accident.

“The Reactor Assessment Tool and the Database of Source help responders anticipate how an emergency might develop,” said Frederic Stephani, Incident and Emergency Assessment Officer at the IAEA. “They are, therefore, key in supporting an effective emergency response.”

The Reactor Assessment Tool

The Reactor Assessment Tool by analyzing the condition of safety systems in nuclear reactors and by estimating whether there has been a radioactive release and if so, the significance of its radiological consequences. These processes are based on authenticated and verified information provided by the authorities in the country in which the accident occurred. The latest version of the Reactor Assessment Tool, released in June 2020, also incorporates a prognosis module. It was successfully tested in emergency exercises with countries worldwide. The Reactor Assessment Tool is available online for both IAEA emergency responders and experts worldwide, on request.

Database of accident scenarios

At the event, the Reactor Assessment Tool shared the stage with the Database of Source Terms, which was launched in August to store technical information about accident scenarios that national authorities voluntarily share. These pre-calculated accident scenarios are useful to experts worldwide to prepare for emergencies, analyze their potential consequences and develop means to mitigate them. This database also supports the preparation of exercise scenarios, training courses and case studies.

The Database of Source Terms is now accessible online. Stephani said: “The next step for us is to populate this database, and to do so we will keep asking our counterparts to share with us on a voluntary basis their data of accident scenarios, accident simulations and consequence analyses, so that we can host them in this database.”

Representatives of national authorities attending the event welcomed these innovations. Olivier Isnard, from France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety France, described the Reactor Assessment Tool as “a way to easily exchange and share analysis with other countries.” The Database Source of Terms, he said, “strengthens the ability of response centers to share a common approach to emergency situations and ultimately to protect the public.”

Stay in touch