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

You are here

IAEA and Countries Collaborate to Strengthen Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Response


Panelists at the side event "How the IAEA Supports Member States in the Event of Nuclear and Radiological Incidents and Emergencies," during the recent IAEA General Conference. (Photo: N.Jayarajan/IAEA)

The IAEA’s essential role in assisting countries during nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies was the focus of a side event, "How the IAEA Supports Member States in the Event of Nuclear and Radiological Incidents and Emergencies," during the recent IAEA 67th General Conference. The event featured a panel discussion where representatives from Canada, China, France, Romania, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America shared their countries’ successful cooperation with the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC).  

Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Lydie Evrard emphasized the importance of emergency preparedness and response (EPR) in maintaining global nuclear safety and security in her opening remarks. She underscored the IAEA's unwavering commitment to support countries in adapting to new risks and hazards by remaining at the forefront of developments in the field. 

“The significance of resilient frameworks for emergency preparedness and response and their invaluable contribution to enhancing the safety and security of nuclear facilities and materials worldwide cannot be overstated,” she said.  

A presentation by the IAEA provided an overview of IEC's critical role in preparedness and response. The IEC focuses on safety standards, capacity building and emergency preparedness review (EPREV) missions. It offers international agreements, guidance, procedures and tools to support the application of EPR safety standards. 

The Director of the IEC, Carlos Torres Vidal, highlighted the importance of support from countries to strengthen the international response framework for nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies. “Our Member States provide invaluable support for the IEC. Your extrabudgetary contributions, cost-free experts and technical advice are crucial in strengthening our capacities to respond to events. These events range from nuclear power plant accidents to finding lost radioactive sources and providing medical care for radiation overexposure. We thank you for your generosity and commitment,” he said.  

The IEC's roles, as defined by international treaties and agreements, include acting as a focal point for notifications and official information exchange; the provision of public information; assessment of potential emergency consequences; provision of assistance upon request; and coordination of inter-agency responses. 

Cooperation around the world

From L to R: Director of the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre Carlos Torres Vidal, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security Lydie Evrard, Preparedness Officer Muzna Assi, Emergency Response Officer Stacey Horvitz, and Emergency Response Training Officer Marcella Cagnazzo. (Photo: N.Jayarajan/IAEA)

Salem Hamdi, Director-General of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA), and Chair of the Round Table on Member States’ Cooperation with the IEC to Prepare and Respond to Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies, noted the importance of international cooperation in EPR. He also expressed his appreciation for the IEC’s support in developing the roadmap for Arab cooperation in radiological and nuclear EPR. He highlighted the successful collaboration between AAEA and IAEA and the memorandum of understanding signed between the two organizations, marking a significant milestone in their cooperation. 

“I have to praise the effective coordination and cooperation between IAEA/IEC, AAEA and Arab countries counterparts and the atmosphere of synergy to work together as a team for achievement of our mutual goals,” he underscored.  

The roadmap aims to establish a regional and national EPR framework, harmonize arrangements and develop the necessary infrastructure and capacities for nuclear and radiological emergency response in Arab countries. It seeks to ensure full implementation of EPR conventions, foster regional cooperation, exchange expertise and contribute to the development and implementation of the nuclear risk reduction programme as part of the Global Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020. 

Further presentations by countries described other successful projects based on cooperation for EPR.  France and the United States of America described how they had benefited from cooperation with the IEC on EPR tools and platforms. A presentation from Canada described the strategic value gained from an EPREV mission, and Romania and the United Arab Emirates described how their countries had benefited from IEC support in the organization of large-scale emergency exercises.  

Cantemir Ciurea-Ercau, President of the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) in Romania, talked about a full-scale national emergency response exercise carried out in October 2023 in Valahia. The Valahia exercise represents the culmination of the collaboration between the IAEA and CNCAN within the Norway-Romania project. The primary objective of this exercise was to test the emergency arrangements that have been developed and implemented throughout the project's duration. 

Huang Min, Deputy Director General of the Department of Nuclear Emergency Response and Nuclear Safety at the China Atomic Energy Authority, described China's cooperation with the IEC, which was formalized at the General Conference through the signing of practical arrangements. Under these arrangements, China maintains a Capacity Building Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, which provides national and regional capacity building and resources.  

In his concluding remarks, Torres Vidal highlighted two upcoming events. The Competent Authorities Meeting, or CAM, will be in Vienna in June 2024. “It is the world's meeting point for emergency preparedness and response,” he said. In 2025, the IAEA will hold a ConvEx-3, the Agency’s highest level and most complex emergency exercise, and the International Conference on Emergency Preparedness and Response. “We encourage Member States to host ConvEx-3 and to designate experts to join the International Conference Programme Committee. With your support we will continue to contribute towards robust nuclear safety,” Torres Vidal said. 

About the IEC

The IEC is the global focal point for international emergency preparedness, communication and response to nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies, regardless of whether they arise from accidents, negligence or deliberate acts. It is the world’s centre for the coordination of international EPR assistance. 

Last update: 16 Oct 2023

Stay in touch