Nuclear Energy Agency Online Bulletin

June 2001

Radiation Protection

Successful world-wide exercise in nuclear emergency management

In the tradition of the NEA-initiated INEX exercises, an extensive international nuclear emergency exercise, INEX 2000/JINEX 1, was carried out on 22-23 May 2001, based on a French national exercise at the Gravelines nuclear power plant in the north of France, near the Belgian border. The Gravelines site contains six pressurised water reactors, each providing 910 MWe of electrical power. The exercise involved a simulated incident in the fictitious Gravelines Unit 11 including a release of radioactivity to the environment.

Based on actual weather conditions at the time of the exercise, the French authorities would have evacuated 8000 people and recommended the intake of stable iodine to protect the public living in the vicinity of the power plant. The simulated accident was rated four on the international nuclear event scale (INES). The exercise allowed participants to test existing national and international procedures and arrangements for responding to a nuclear emergency, co-ordinate the release of information, and assess the effectiveness of advisory and decision-making mechanisms. In addition, web-based information exchange mechanisms were tested following the NEA initiative to promote the implementation and testing of modern monitoring and data management strategies for nuclear emergencies. These were developed during the INEX 2 exercise series (1996-1999). A total of 54 countries and five international organisations participated in the exercise. The exercise is currently being evaluated in order to further improve emergency preparedness.

The second part of the INEX 2000 Exercise is an International third party liability Workshop. Based on the scenario from the scientific/technical exercise of 22 May, the workshop will take place on 26-28 November 2001 in Paris. This workshop aims to test the mechanisms by which potential victims of this simulated accident would be compensated — both in France and in the affected neighbouring countries. One of the principal objectives is to examine the manner in which the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Supplementary Convention would be applied.

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