While preparedness for a nuclear emergency response is well advanced in most countries, preparedness for the long-term recovery from such accidents is much less developed. Since the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accidents, the notion of a sustainable recovery from a nuclear or radiological accident has been the focus for many in the international radiological protection community, as well as for policy and decision makers around the world.
Around 90 radiological protection professionals and researchers, representing regulators, research institutions and government entities from NEA member countries and beyond, joined Preparedness for Post-Nuclear Accident Recovery on 27-28 October 2022. The workshop was hosted by the French Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) in Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.
The workshop marked the conclusion of the activities of the NEA Expert Group on Recovery Management (EGRM). This group was formed by the NEA Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) in 2019 to develop an operational framework of preparedness for recovery management, which could be easily adapted to different domestic settings.
The cyclical framework approach suggested by the EGRM in its report Building a Framework for Post-Nuclear Accident Recovery Preparedness was presented during the workshop and underpinned the workshop’s different sessions.
Some 29 international speakers shared their expertise on the subject during the workshop, allowing participants to exchange their knowledge and national experience in post-nuclear accident recovery management arrangements.
Nuclear Energy Agency Deputy Director-General for Management and Planning, Mr Nobuhiro Muroya, addressed the participants to highlight the NEA’s work in the area of post-nuclear accident recovery preparedness.
“More than 10 years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, and more than 35 years after the Chernobyl accident, many lessons have been learned to improve preparedness for nuclear emergencies. While the preparedness for immediate nuclear emergency response is well advanced in most countries and is regularly exercised in accordance with international basic safety standards, preparedness for the long-term recovery from such accidents is still to be further developed,” Mr Muroya said.
“The NEA is committed to assisting our member countries in improving their nuclear emergency response and recovery policy, planning and preparedness,” he added.
The implications of the different technical and topical strategies introduced in the EGRM report for the upcoming 6th International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX-6) was another key focus of the workshop. INEX-6 will be the first large-scale international exercise to focus on long-term recovery after a nuclear or radiological accident.
Over the course of its mandate, the EGRM has produced several documents and activities in the field of post-nuclear accident preparedness, including the 2020 report Preparedness for Post-Accident Recovery: Lessons from Experience and its associated webinar.
For more information on the Nuclear Energy Agency’s work on radiological protection visit here.