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IAEA Network for Emergency Assistance Reaches Milestone with 30th Member

Vienna, Austria

Mr Roberto Suarez Alvarado, from a Mexican RANET Field Assistance Team, inspects a Cs-137 brachytherapy source recovered in San Pedra Sula, Honduras in October 2010 (Photo: P.Kenny, IAEA)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) network of countries reached a milestone this month when Denmark became the 30th country to join the Response and Assistance Network (RANET).

RANET, which was established after a decision by IAEA Member States in 2000, enables the IAEA to quickly mobilize expertise, equipment and other support if a country affected by an emergency requests it. RANET members can help other countries on request after an emergency, for example by measuring radiation, evaluating the nuclear or radiological consequences and providing medical advice or treatment.

RANET members share up-to-date information about the type of assistance they can offer. Countries that seek assistance contact the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre, which serves as a focal point for coordinating and facilitating international assistance.

Participating in the network fulfils an obligation under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, which was adopted in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

 “RANET is a tool that enables countries to make a tangible contribution to global nuclear safety,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of its Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “I welcome the milestone we have reached with 30 members, and I encourage countries with relevant capacities that are not yet part of the network to consider joining. Nuclear or radiological emergencies are rare, but when they happen despite all prevention efforts, international cooperation of the kind facilitated by RANET can play a key role.”

Recent examples of use of the network includes experts and equipment sent to Peru in 2012 to treat workers who had been overexposed to radiation by sources used in industry, and to Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 to assess patients overexposed by radiation during medical treatment. Other cases, such as missions to Honduras in 2010 and Cambodia in 2012, involved searching for and recovering lost radiation sources, as well as reconstructing the dose people in the sources’ vicinity may have absorbed.

The following countries are part of RANET: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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