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Five Countries Join IAEA's Radiation Monitoring System


During an international emergency response exercise in Bodø, Norway, IAEA field response team member, Stacey Horvitz, uses a backpack-based radiation detection system to gather survey data that will be relayed to IRMIS. (Photo: S. Defour/IAEA)

Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand recently joined the IAEA’s International Radiation Monitoring System (IRMIS), bringing the total number of participating countries to 48. In the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency, IRMIS supports the assessment of the radiological situation and provides critical data to immediately inform emergency response decision makers. The system gathers radiation monitoring data from over 6000 monitoring stations worldwide, which are part of nationally operated networks.

“By joining the IAEA IRMIS, these countries have further strengthened the international framework for nuclear or radiological emergency preparedness and response," said Carlos Torres Vidal, Director of the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre, which serves as the global focal point for coordinating and facilitating the international response in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency. "We hope that their example will ultimately encourage other countries to submit their radiation monitoring data to IRMIS.”

IRMIS, which has been operating for 17 years, displays real-time information on radiation levels on a map that references the IAEA Operational Intervention Levels (OILs). OILs are operational criteria that allow emergency response organisations to promptly implement protective and other response actions based on radiation monitoring results that are collected during a nuclear or radiological emergency. This information enables countries’ emergency responders to assess and minimize any potential risks to human health and the environment. IRMIS is designed to support the implementation of the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident by providing a mechanism to report and visualise large quantities of environmental radiation monitoring data during an emergency.

“The IAEA has also recently upgraded IRMIS to increase its capacity to share, aggregate and visualize radiation monitoring data during nuclear or radiological emergencies,” Torres Vidal added. Countries are encouraged to voluntarily provide radiation monitoring data to this online system, which facilitates comprehensive and up-to-date information sharing and coordinated emergency response efforts with contributions from international organizations.

Strengthening data sharing in the Middle East and Southeast Asia

Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are the first countries in the Middle East region to provide monitoring radiation data to IRMIS. “Iraq's participation in the IRMIS system will have a positive impact in Iraq and the region. It enables Iraq to monitor the environment and protect it from the spread of radioactive contamination and mitigate its effects by providing accurate information in a timely manner to specialists in this field,” said Mazin Albadrani, IRMIS provider for the Radiation Protection Center (RPC) of Iraq.

The submission of data to the IAEA IRMIS helps ensure that environmental radioactivity levels are effectively monitored and reported, which is important in providing a comprehensive picture of global and regional radiation levels.

Alaa Jaffal, Head of the Environmental Monitoring Stations Section at Jordan’s Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) said, “Jordan seeks to build and enhance local capabilities in emergency preparedness and response nationally. IRMIS helps EMRC stay updated on the radiological situation on a global level, which helps Jordan be prepared and ready to initiate an emergency response, if needed. And this radiological data is shared among all responsible stakeholders nationally.”

Thailand and Malaysia joined Indonesia as the three countries in Southeast Asia currently participating in the IAEA IRMIS. “The first-hand data from the detection system in Malaysia will contribute to up-to-date information and data consolidation that will improve plans to react to any potential situation where high levels of radiation is detected,” said Dewisinta Mokhtar, Head of Emergency Unit at the Department of Atomic Energy, Malaysia.

About the IRMIS

IRMIS data can be routine radiation monitoring data, provided on a regular basis, as is the case with all the countries registered with the system. In addition, the data can be collected on an ad-hoc basis, for example, during a nuclear or radiological emergency. Routine data is gathered by fixed instruments that always scan the environment from the same location, while event-related data can come from any radiation monitoring instrument, provided it is linked with coordinates, date and time.

In cooperation with the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies (USIE), the IAEA IRMIS provides authorities with 24/7 access to the collected data and the necessary quantitative technical information to support a comprehensive assessment and prognosis of the radiological situation.

Since its creation in 2016, the radiation monitoring information system network has expanded to 48 countries including: Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Türkiye, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America.

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