Enhancing expertise in nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness, response and recovery: Insights from the 48th WPNEM meeting


Through its technical programmes, the NEA provides member countries with support to enhance their nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness. The aim is to improve strategies for nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and to harmonise, as far as necessary and feasible, responses at both national and international levels.

The NEA Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) held its 48th meeting in Oslo on 21 November 2023. The meeting gathered 50 delegates from 20 member countries, international organisations and an invited delegation from the People’s Republic of China.

The WPNEM meetings serve as a platform for members to stay informed about the progress of the programme of work, explore emerging issues through topical sessions and exchange best practices for national and international emergency planning, response and recovery.

During WPNEM-48, delegates shared updates on emergency preparedness, response and recovery within their respective countries or organisations. Another session featured an initial discussion on regulatory approaches addressing emergency preparedness and response for small modular reactors (SMRs), with insights provided by representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Participants held in-depth discussions on SMRs to explore the potential radiological protection (RP) considerations related to these innovative designs. This effort aims to contribute to the ongoing review conducted by the CRPPH Task Force on RP challenges related to SMR deployment.

The WPNEM meeting also featured presentations on the progress of the expert groups and task group. All groups are expected to publish their findings in early 2024. These include the Expert Group on the comparison and understanding of Dose-Prognosis (EGDP), the Expert Group on the use of Real-Time Platforms (EGRT), the Expert Group on Non-Radiological Public Health Aspects of Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Response (EGNR) and the Task Group on Radioactive Measurement Handbook.

WPNEM participants also received updates on the ongoing preparations for the sixth International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX-6). This multidimensional exercise aims to identify gaps in policy and regulation to enhance country preparedness for long-term recovery from a nuclear or radiological accident. WPNEM participants expressed appreciation for the progress made by the dedicated Expert Group and interest in the lessons to be learnt from the exercise when it is held in 2024.

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