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Improving Models to Assess Environmental Radiation Impact: MODARIA II Third Technical Meeting

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Measuring and assessing the impact of radiation on people and the environment resulting from routine nuclear-related activities and accidents, is key for nations to establish baselines for public safety and, if relevant, develop steps to address potential radiation risks. To further improve national capabilities in assessing environmental radiation, the IAEA hosted, on 22-25 October 2018, the Third Technical Meeting on the Development, Testing and Harmonization of Models and Data for the Radiological Impact Assessments (MODARIA II).

The four-day meeting brought together over 150 experts, including regulators, scientists, operators and experts from technical support organizations, from 40 countries where they analysed the progress made under the programme and discussed questions on modelling environmental radiation

“Since 1985 the IAEA has been running programmes, like MODARIA II, to increase the understanding and the scientific knowledge necessary to address radiological environmental issues,” said Peter Johnston, Director of the Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety.

“The main areas of work have been to cover the need for proper conceptual descriptions, mathematical modelling and the use of experimental and field data for the setting and improvement of parameters. This work allows calculated results to be obtained which can support important decisions regarding people and environmental protection,” he added.

Tasked with undertaking this topic are seven Working Groups. These groups are a forum of researchers collaborating and sharing information to find the best models and parameters for assessing environmental radiation risk. Some areas of focus include decision-making for existing exposure situations, countermeasures in urban areas, and the effects of radiation exposure on plants and animals.

At the meeting, each Working Group presented the progress made in their research and discussed next steps. GPS trackers on reindeer to monitor radiation levels in their habitat, forecasting radiation dispersion in the atmosphere and modelling decision-making approaches for radiation safety are just some of the topics discussed during this session.

How are the results of these research projects used?

“We give the results of our work to the IAEA who then provide advice to regulators in its Member States on how to use the models we developed,” said Juan C. Mora of the Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research from Spain, one of the Working Group Leaders.

Furthermore, this coordinated research helps scientists identify areas of improvement in radiation assessment, increase regulatory efficiency and gives the IAEA a basis to develop safety standards.

The Fourth MODARIA II Technical Meeting will take place 21-24 October 2019 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

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