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IAEA Helps Strengthen Emergency Preparedness and Response Skills at Workshop in Fukushima

IAEA workshop on monitoring during a nuclear or radiological emergency

Pat Kenny (IAEA RANET Officer) welcomes participants in the IAEA workshop on monitoring during a nuclear or radiological emergency, Fukushima Prefecture, 13 April 2015. (Photo: T. Ozawa/IAEA)

Radiological monitoring and environmental sampling are some of the most important activities responders would need to engage in during and immediately after a nuclear or radiological emergency to achieve their most important task: protecting the public. And so these were the main areas of focus of an international workshop conducted in in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, last week.

The workshop, held at the IAEA's Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Centre in Fukushima City, was designed to help countries build capacity in preparation for a nuclear or radiological emergency.

Professionals from eight countries participated in field exercises in uninhabited areas that were evacuated following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident. These exercises ensured a mix of theory and hands-on training, and allowed attendees to practice various methods for emergency monitoring of radiation and environmental sample collection at various sites. While radiation levels in the evacuated area are low and no protective clothing is required, participants simulated emergency conditions by wearing the types of protective suits required while conducting monitoring during a real emergency.

"The exercises offer participants a unique opportunity to practice in real-life conditions," said Pat Kenny, IAEA RANET Officer and Scientific Secretary of the workshop.

Experts from France and Japan trained and advised participants from Bahrain, Bolivia, Cuba, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, South Korea and Ukraine.

"The knowledge and experience that I have gained from this workshop will help me to increase my capability for responding to radiological and nuclear emergencies," said Hamad Salah Ibrahim from the Qatar Ministry of Environment.

Cheolsu Kim from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety added: "The two days of exercises in the field were very practical and well-designed, teaching me how to use a variety of equipment in an emergency situation. The lessons learned from this workshop will be helpful to the planning of emergency response in my country by reflecting several realistic techniques in the environmental sampling and analysis and dose survey for the contaminated area."

The IAEA organised the workshop as part of its work to strengthen IAEA Member States' emergency preparedness and response capabilities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Fukushima Prefecture supported the workshop.

RANET is a network comprising 28 countries through which the IAEA can facilitate the provision of expert support and equipment on request for assistance in accordance with the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.

Last update: 26 Jul 2017


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