The Tohoku earthquake on 11 March 2011 and the following tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has brought to the forefront important challenges facing the international radiation protection regime.
As a result of the disaster, and in line with the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, the IAEA is hosting an International Experts' Meeting (IEM) on Radiation Protection after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Promoting Confidence and Understanding. The IEM will be held in Vienna from 17 to 21 February 2014 and will bring some of the world's foremost experts and speakers on radiation protection to discuss a wide range of issues. Topics include the management of radiation exposures, potential health effects from the Fukushima accident, land management and public communication. Lessons from past accidents will also be reviewed. Chairing the IEM will be Mr. Sigurdur Magnusson, Director of Iceland's Radiation Protection Authority.
The accident at Fukushima alerted the global community to the need to fully implement safety standards in order to be able to effectively manage, in a timely manner, any possible future accident and its aftermath. The IEM will focus on the following areas:
- Identifying the key radiation protection issues to be addressed by the international community;
- Enhancing long-term strategies in response to nuclear or radiological accidents;
- Assisting Member States in reviewing and updating their radiation protection programmes as appropriate; and
- Supporting the IAEA's work in the area of radiation protection.
The meeting will also highlight the intergenerational responsibility for radiation protection: plans that are being drawn up today will need to be implemented by the scientists of tomorrow. With this in mind, the meeting is promoting the participation of young, radiation protection professionals from around the world who can share their thoughts on solutions to the issues that need to be addressed.
A formal report is expected to be published after meeting; the presentations and discussions at the IEM will also be made available on the IAEA website.