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IAEA Publication Highlights How EPRIMS Strengthens Countries’ Preparedness for Emergencies


The EPRIMS Guide for Authorized Users serves as another step in making EPRIMS more accessible both to users who may already be familiar with the system and to users who are completely new to the system. (Image: M.Kasper/IAEA)

In an emergency, governments may have only hours to decide on actions to protect their population. Their ability to take the right decisions in those crucial hours depends on the effectiveness of their national emergency preparedness framework: a complex system of laws, regulations, and arrangements that must be continuously assessed and improved. A new IAEA Emergency Preparedness and Response Information Management System (EPRIMS) Guide for Authorized Users informs countries on how to evaluate their own preparedness to respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency, and identify their strengths and any gaps.

“Learning from other countries’ experiences through the transparent sharing of information is essential to building resilient emergency preparedness and response frameworks,” said Svetlana Nestoroska Madjunarova, IAEA Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, at a recent workshop on this publication, adding that, “through EPRIMS, relevant stakeholders can learn various practical ways to implement the IAEA safety standards. We hope this new guide will make it easier and more intuitive for countries to assess their readiness in the field of emergency preparedness and response and share their knowledge with others.”  

EPRIMS is an interactive, web-based tool that countries can use to evaluate their own national readiness against requirements from the IAEA Safety Standard General Safety Requirements (GSR) Part 7, and  is available to all IAEA Member States.

Detailed instructions on how to access EPRIMS are included in the new user guide, which describes the process of using EPRIMS, from nominating country coordinators, to adding additional users, to performing country self-assessments, and reading the shared self-assessments of other countries on the platform. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how a country can create its own EPR profile and how the information is entered into the system as well as how to generate various types of reports for self-assessment and for data analysis.  

“EPRIMS proved to be an excellent tool for the self-assessment of our national EPR arrangements to evaluate our readiness to effectively respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency,” said Faradally A. Ollite, Director, Radiation Safety and Nuclear Security Authority, Mauritius.

At the regional level, EPRIMS can help to harmonize countries emergency preparedness and response (EPR) frameworks, to coordinate and integrate the course of actions to be implemented if an emergency occurs.

“The possibility for participating Member States to share their self-assessment is a powerful feature of EPRIMS, and this has proven to be very useful for us to emulate the good practices from the national experience of other Member States. However, to optimise the benefits from this feature, all Member States should be encouraged to share their self-assessment on EPRIMS,” he highlighted.  

EPRIMS proved to be an excellent tool for the self-assessment of our national EPR arrangements
Faradally A. Ollite, Director, Radiation Safety and Nuclear Security Authority, Mauritius

A complex task made easier: EPRIMS and EPREV

EPRIMS is an interactive, web-based tool for Member States to share information on their EPR capabilities for nuclear and radiological emergencies at the preparedness stage.. (Image: M.Kasper/IAEA)

The IAEA Safety Standard General Safety Requirements (GSR) Part 7 establishes requirements for countries to ensure that they are effectively prepared to respond to nuclear or radiological emergencies, and mitigate the consequences of such an emergency, should one occur despite all efforts to prevent it.

Countries are expected to apply these requirements by adopting legislation, establishing regulations and assigning responsibilities to different organizations such as local or national officials. Assessing emergency preparedness and response arrangements on a national level is a complex task, as emergency response systems involve a broad range of stakeholders with different duties and information needs and require continuous improvement to be effective.

EPRIMS, launched in 2015, makes this task easier for countries. Alongside exercises and lessons learned from real events, EPRIMS provides countries with a platform to learn from each other’s experiences in emergency preparedness and response.

Although emergency preparedness for nuclear or radiological emergencies is a national responsibility, countries can request that the IAEA conduct an Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) mission to appraise their level of emergency preparedness. EPRIMS self-assessment is mandatory before an EPREV mission can be undertaken.

“Self-assessment via EPRIMS can provide a useful and comprehensive overview of strengths and good practices as well as gaps or shortcomings in countries’ emergency preparedness, which they can request the IAEA’s support to further and independently appraise national arrangements via EPREV,” said Frederic Stephani, an IAEA Incident and Emergency Assessment Officer.

The IAEA has conducted two EPREV follow up missions this year: to Hungary in July and Slovenia in October, with additional EPREV missions in preparation to Morocco, Canada and Turkey.

“In the Netherlands we are considering an EPREV mission,” said Tom van Galen, Senior Advisor on Emergency Preparedness and Response for the Dutch Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection, (ANVS). “But before we ask for such a mission, we want to see how we have organised our national emergency preparedness in comparison with the IAEA safety standards. EPRIMS is an easy-to-use tool for that job, because it gives us the possibility to perform the self-assessment with all the different stakeholders, even with those who don’t have access to EPRIMS itself.”

The uses of EPRIMS go beyond EPR self-assessment for countries with a nuclear energy programme: it can also be used to assess preparedness for emergencies at all types of nuclear facilities, as well as for emergencies involving sealed radioactive sources. EPRIMS also contains a database of nuclear power reactor information and associated technical data in the area of EPR.

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