Press release
Paris, 16 May 2001


Fifty-four countries and five international organisations join in a world-wide exercise in nuclear emergency management

As part of ongoing international collaboration to deal with possible nuclear emergencies, an extensive international nuclear emergency exercise will be carried out on 22-23 May 2001 based on a French national exercise at the Gravelines nuclear power plant located in the north of France, near the Belgian border. The Gravelines site is home to six pressurised water reactors, each providing 910 MWe of electrical power. This exercise will involve a simulated incident at a fictitious unit on this site with the possibility of an environmental impact. Participants may have to decide on measures to protect the public based on actual weather conditions at the time of the exercise.

The main objectives of the exercise are 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. The exercise is jointly sponsored and co-ordinated by five international organisations: the European Commission (EC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The 54 countries participating world-wide will follow their own actual national emergency response plans and procedures, using their own emergency response centres, and will share information and co-ordinate response activities.

Based on new approaches developed during the INEX 2 exercise series (1996-1999), the involvement of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in this exercise is to promote the implementation and testing of modern monitoring and data management strategies for nuclear emergencies.

Following the exercise, each participating organisation will undertake an evaluation in order to further improve emergency preparedness.

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