NEA Mandates and Structures


Expert Group on Non-radiological Public Health Aspects of Radiation Emergency Planning and Response (EGNR)

Chair(s): Secretary:  Edward LAZO
(edward.lazo@oecd-nea.org)
Member(s):All NEA member countries
Full participant(s): European Commission
Under the NEA Statute
Observer(s)(International Organisation): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
By agreement
Date of creation:29 March 2019
End of mandate:29 March 2021

Mandate (Document reference):

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract of document NEA/CRPPH/INEX(2018)2/PROV

Background

Health impairment due to a major nuclear accident always includes impairments attributable to both ionizing radiation and non-radiological effects, such as psycho-social and societal impairments. As seen from Chernobyl and Fukushima experiences, the latter had a significant socio-economic impact on the affected communities. It is unclear how these aspects could be included in a quantitative fashion in considerations at the preparedness stage and in decision-making during an emergency. Numerous observational studies and reports based on Chernobyl and Fukushima experience that are available so far do not offer solutions nor practical guidelines on protection strategies. The existing international safety standards (IAEA’s General Safety Requirements  (GSR) Part 7[1], for example) include generic requirements for provisions that are needed for taking into account mitigation of the psycho-social and mental health impact of nuclear accidents, but do not offer explicit descriptions of the required protective actions.

Health impairment, particularly psychological health issues after major disasters, is primarily – on an international scale – subject of the World Health Organisation’s(WHO) mandate. OECD’s work in this field will clearly consider this. The Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) has established the Expert Group on Non-Radiological Public Health Aspects of Radiation Emergency Planning and Response (including psycho-social and other societal impacts of Evacuation, Sheltering and Relocation) (EGNR) for member countries to collaboratively address complex issues regarding how to consider non-radiological health impacts of nuclear accident in emergency planning and response.

The NEA, via WPNEM, is the right organisation to address the inter-disciplinary discussions directly or indirectly pertaining to the safety of nuclear applications as a key stakeholder and a potential end-user of the future report on this issue.

This Expert Group supports the mandate of the Committee for Radiological Protection and Public Health, which states: “the Committee shall … promote international collaboration on specific radiological protection and radiation-related public health topics of interest to the NEA member countries in the framework of the NEA Strategic Plan” [NEA/NE (2017)13]. The EGNR also supports the WPNEM mission “to improve nuclear emergency management systems within NEA member countries, and to share its knowledge and experience widely” and, in particular, “to identify and investigate as appropriate further advancements in all aspects of emergency preparedness and response for nuclear/radiological emergencies (including accidents and consequence management of malicious acts), for example …  psychological, societal and public information aspects” [NEA/CRPPH/INEX(2016)4/REV1].

Objectives

The main objective of the EGNR is to improve consideration of non-radiological health aspects in the preparedness and response of nuclear accidents, through the development of practical solutions for mitigation of these aspects by:

Methods of Working

a. Review of a draft WHO policy framework on psycho-social effects in emergencies, adopting existing WHO guidelines on mental health and psychological support in emergency settings to nuclear emergency scenarios (led by WHO, with EGNR input)

b. Organisation of a Joint Workshop in co-operation with the WHO and potentially the Federal Office for Radiation Protection of Germany (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz – BfS) to discuss key issues to be considered

c. Following the above, develop practical tools for decision-makers (led by EGNR with WHO input).

Tentative timeline

The EGNR will review the policy framework document developed by the WHO in the first quarter of 2019.

The EGNR will explore in the 2019-21 period the options for using this document for the further development of practical tools and solutions for addressing non-radiological health impacts of nuclear emergencies.

Interactions

The EGNR will closely co-ordinate its work with the Radiation Programme of the WHO, as well as with other NEA standing technical committees, OECD directorates, as appropriate, and may liaise with other relevant international organisations, such as the IAEA, in order to apply the right expertise to the right issues and avoid duplicating efforts.

Deliverables

 


[1] IAEA GSR Part 7 is available at www-pub.iaea.org/books/iaeabooks/10905/preparedness-and-response-for-a-nuclear-or-radiological-emergency