The designation of the IAEA Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Centre, which will coordinate several training activities related to nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response, was marked with a ceremony today.
Ambassador Shin Maruo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Masao Uchibori, Deputy Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, and Elena Buglova, IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre Head, delivered remarks during the ceremony.
The Centre will be home to training courses, workshops and exercises aimed at enhancing nuclear emergency preparedness and response capacity, both in Japan and worldwide, in light of the March 2011 accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The Centre is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Fukushima Prefecture.
The first activity in the Centre, an IAEA RANET Workshop, will start tomorrow and conclude on 31 May 2013. More than 40 experts from 18 countries will participate in the workshop, which will involve a field exercise in Fukushima Prefecture. During this exercise, participants will conduct radiation monitoring and environmental sampling and analysis. They will monitor beta and gamma dose rate, the contamination level of the ground surface and conduct gamma spectrum analysis and vehicle-based monitoring.
Through RANET, the IAEA can mobilize the provision of expert support and equipment by request under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.
The Centre forms part of the IAEA's work to further strengthen international emergency preparedness and response, as guided by the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety which was unanimously endorsed by IAEA Member States in September 2011.
"Working together, the IAEA's Member States have already made significant progress in this area, but we can never stop working to improve it further," Ms. Buglova said at the ceremony. "Through efforts here at the IAEA RANET Capacity Building Centre and elsewhere, the IAEA is working to make nuclear energy as safe as humanly possible."
Ambassador Maruo added:
"It is important that we contribute to enhancing nuclear safety in the world by sharing experiences and lessons from Fukushima Prefecture with the global community. Strengthening nuclear preparedness and response capabilities through the activities of the IAEA RANET Capacity Building Centre contributes to the enhancement of nuclear safety in Fukushima Prefecture, in the Asia-Pacific area and consequently in the world."
One IAEA staff member is based at the Centre, with other IAEA staff members visiting as needed. Further workshops will be organized, both for Japanese and international participants.