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IAEA Holds First Research Coordination Meeting on Using Dose Projection Tools in Nuclear or Radiological Emergencies

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During the research coordination  meeting, participants discussed dose projection tools to ensure effective emergency preparedness and response. (Photo: K. Vargas/IAEA)

Participants from 21 countries and 25 institutes shared their experience and knowledge about using dose projection tools when preparing for, and responding to, nuclear or radiological emergencies at the first research coordination meeting on this topic organized by the IAEA in Vienna in January 2020.

“The goal of this coordinated research project (CRP) is to outline the plans and details, which will be implemented over the next three years, to help improve the performance of dose projection tools in the preparedness and response to nuclear or radiological emergencies,” said Phillip Vilar Welter, IAEA Emergency Preparedness Officer.

Dose projection tools are important for ensuring effective emergency preparedness and response. In the preparedness phase, tools such as RODOS (Real-time On-line DecisiOn Support system) or  MACCS (MELCOR Accident Consequence Code System) are used to assess the potential radiological consequences of an emergency. The projections can help authorities develop emergency arrangements that specifically address the expected consequences. For example, these tools can be used to determine the size of emergency planning zones needed for protective actions, prioritize locations for radiation monitoring, estimate the location and type of contamination deposed on the ground, or project the dose received by the public, among many other projections.

“The IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) supports this work as it contributes to Member States' preparedness, assisting them to enhance the effectiveness of their emergency arrangements,” Vilar Welter added.

The CRP will help Member States better understand the advantages and limitations of using dose projection tools. For instance, all modelling tools produce outputs that display some uncertainty when these projected results are compared to actual experience. Therefore, comparing data from modelling tools to actual data from past events will enable experts to examine and assess the modelling tool’s limitations and uncertainties.

At the one-week meeting, experts considered experience from the use of the dose projection tools and approaches in improving them. Their analysis will inform the CRP's recommendations to improve the tools’ effectiveness in supporting emergency preparedness and response.   

Researchers, technical experts and observers attended the course organized by the IEC and the IAEA’s Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety from 20 to 24 January 2020, representing diverse organizations, such as national laboratories, public health organizations and nuclear safety institutions. These organizations are directly involved in developing and using the projection tools to enhance emergency preparedness and response arrangements.

“We hope to gain a better understanding of the IAEA's methods for radiological assessment in nuclear and radiological emergencies,” said Lainy Cochran and Brian Hunt of Sandia National Laboratories. “We also hope to gain a better understanding of the tools used by the IAEA and other countries during these emergencies.”

For further information please use the contact form on the CRP page.

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