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Member States Discussed New Safety Guide on Termination of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

The Agency is currently preparing a new Safety Guide on Arrangements for the Termination of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency. Its purpose is to provide guidance and recommendations to Member States in developing and implementing their arrangements in this area, with the aim of facilitating the timely resumption of social and economic activities after an emergency.

A draft version of the new Safety Guide (DS474) was reviewed in a Technical Meeting held in Vienna from 28 September to 2 October 2015, which was attended by 52 representatives from 41 Member States and three international organizations. The Meeting was chaired by Mr W. Weiss from Germany and Mr T. Homma from Japan, with Ms S. Nestoroska Madjunarova, technical officer for the development of Safety Guide DS474, serving as the Scientific Secretary.

In her opening remarks, Ms E. Buglova, Head of the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC), highlighted the importance of the subject matter of the meeting in light of past experiences. Ms Buglova pointed out that Safety Guide DS474 is intended to fill the gap that still exists in international guidance in the area of the termination of a nuclear or radiological emergency and the subsequent transition from an emergency exposure situation to a new normality. For example, the new Guide addresses in detail the questions when areas affected by an emergency are safe for people to return and resume their normal lives, and when facilities or activities are safe again to commence their normal operation. Ms Buglova was confident that Safety Guide DSD474 would prove useful to Member States in developing arrangements for this phase of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

The meeting participants had the opportunity to review the draft guidance in detail and provide feedback for further improvement. Representatives from Finland, France and the United States presented their respective national experiences in establishing and implementing arrangements for the transition to long term recovery. The activities following the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the Chernobyl accident with regard to the transition to long term recovery and the preparation of areas to be reopened for human habitation were also discussed. A review of relevant ongoing activities at the international level included updates on the revisions of ICRP Publications 109 and 111 and the work on the NCRP Report No. 175 about the long term recovery following a major nuclear or radiological accident.

The meeting welcomed the draft guidance provided in Safety Guide DS474 as timely for consideration at the national level. The participants appreciated the good balance that has been achieved between radiological considerations and non-radiological aspects, as the latter reflect the complexity of the emergency response during the later phase of a nuclear or radiological emergency. They found the current draft comprehensive, clearly written and understandable; no missing aspects of key importance were identified. The consistent coverage of all kinds of nuclear and radiological emergencies, irrespective of their cause, was much appreciated. The improvements suggested during the discussions will form the basis for the continuing work on the draft Safety Guide, before it will be submitted for formal review by the relevant Safety Standards Committees in 2016.

The Safety Guide will primarily support the requirements of IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 7 and Requirement 46 of IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 3. It will be part of the collection of General Safety Guides within the IAEA Safety Standards Series that are applicable to all facilities and activities. Safety Guide DS474 is expected to be published by the IAEA in 2018.

| Last update: Wednesday, 25 November, 2015.