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Modelling and Data for Radiological Impact Assessments

Third Technical Meeting for "MODARIA", IAEA headquarters, Vienna, 10 to 14 November 2014

The third Technical Meeting (TM) for MODARIA will be held at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna from 10 to 14 November 2014.

The objectives of the meeting are summarized in the Notes Verbale (in all official languages) which were recently circulated to all Member States.

Should you wish to take part in the TM, a Participation Form (Form A) must be completed and then forwarded to your respective country's competent official authority (Ministry of Foreign Affairs or National Atomic Energy Authority) for onward transmission to the IAEA. Please note that we will only be in a position to register you as a participant, and in turn send you an invitation letter, once in receipt of a fully endorsed Participation Form completed in your name.


The general aim of the MODARIA Programme is to improve capabilities in the field of environmental radiation dose assessment by means of acquisition of improved data for model testing, model testing and comparison, reaching consensus on modelling philosophies, approaches and parameter values, development of improved methods and exchange of information.

MODARIA continues some of the work of previous international exercises in the field of radioecological modelling and focuses on areas where uncertainties remain in the predictive capability of environmental models. These previous international exercises include BIOMOVS (BIOspheric Model Validation Study) and BIOMOVS II, initiated by the Swedish Radiation Authority in 1985, and the programmes sponsored by the IAEA: VAMP (VAlidation of Model Predictions, 1988–1996) and BIOMASS (BIOsphere Modelling and ASSessment, 1996–2001), EMRAS (Environmental Modelling for RAdiation Safety), 2003–2007 and EMRAS II which ran from 2009 to 2011.

The activities within the framework of the MODARIA Programme emphasize on improvement of environmental transfer models for reducing associated uncertainties or developing new approaches to strengthen the evaluation of the radiological impact to man, as well as to flora and fauna, arising from radionuclides in the environment.

The MODARIA Programme is being set up to continue the IAEA’s activities in the field of testing, comparing and developing guidance on the application of models to assess exposures to humans and radiological impacts on the environment. The results of radiological assessments are used, for example, in the evaluation of the radiological relevance of routine and accidental releases of radionuclides, to support decision making in remediation work and for the performance assessment of radioactive waste disposals.

Further to its approval by the IAEA’s Board of Governors in September 2011, the IAEA issued the Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards - Interim Edition, General Safety Requirements Part 3, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GSR Part 3 (Interim), which is a revision of the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources that were published as Safety Series No. 115 by the IAEA in 1996, often referred to simply as the “Basic Safety Standards” or BSS). more

Strengthening capabilities for the assessment of radiological impacts is an important aspect of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that was also approved by the IAEA's General Conference in September 2011.

The MODARIA Programme will also support and facilitate the implementation of the revised BSS and like previous IAEA environmental modelling programmes, MODARIA will provide an international focal point in this field and will help Member States to develop and maintain knowledge and competence in the areas of radioecology and environmental assessment.


The overarching objective of the IAEA’s activities in environmental modelling is to enhance the capabilities of Member States to simulate radionuclide transfer in the environment and, thereby, to assess exposure levels of the public and in the environment in order to ensure an appropriate level of protection from the effects of ionizing radiation, associated with radionuclide releases and from existing radionuclides in the environment. Specific objectives in the areas of radioactive release assessment, restoration of sites with radioactive residues, and environmental protection are:

  • To test the performance of models developed for assessing the transfer of radionuclides in the environment and radiological impact to man and environment;
  • To develop and improve models for particular environments and, where appropriate, to agree on data sets that are generally applicable in environmental transfer models;
  • To provide an international forum for the exchange of experience, ideas and research information.

Organization of the MODARIA Programme

The MODARIA Programme will run for 4 years from 2012 to 2015. Two types of meetings will be organized annually as part of the MODARIA Programme:

  • The annual Technical Meeting, which will generally be held at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna during the last quarter of each year
  • The interim Working Group Meetings which will generally take place in the second or third quarter of each year.

During the week long Technical Meeting, typically Plenary Sessions will be held on the first and last days and, the remaining three days will be used for the Working Group Meetings.

The implementation of the MODARIA Programme will be led by a Steering Committee (SC) that will generally meet during the annual Technical Meeting at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna; if necessary, additional meetings may be organized as required. Mr Gerhard Proehl is the overall Scientific Secretary of the MODARIA Programme.


MODARIA Working Groups

Remediation of Contaminated Areas

  • Working Group 1 – Remediation strategies and decision aiding techniques
  • Working Group 2 – Exposures in contaminated urban environments and effect of remedial measures
  • Working Group 3 – Application of models for assessing radiological impacts arising from NORM and radioactively contaminated legacy sites to support the management of remediation

Uncertainties and Variability

  • Working Group 4 – Analysis of radioecological data in IAEA Technical Reports Series publications to identify key radionuclides and associated parameter values for human and wildlife exposure assessment
  • Working Group 5 – Uncertainty and variability analysis for assessments of radiological impacts arising from routine discharges of radionuclides
  • Working Group 6 – Common framework for addressing environmental change in long term safety assessments of radioactive waste disposal facilities
  • Working Group 7 – Harmonization and intercomparison of models for accidental tritium releases

Exposures and Effects on Biota

  • Working Group 8 – Biota modelling: Further development of transfer and exposure models and application to scenarios
  • Working Group 9 – Models for assessing radiation effects on populations of wildlife species

Marine Modelling

  • Working Group 10 – Modelling of marine dispersion and transfer of radionuclides accidentally released from land-based facilities.


First Technical Meeting

The MODARIA Programme was launched at its First Technical Meeting (TM) which was held at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna from 19 to 22 November 2012. The TM was attended by 151 participants from 43 Member States . The meeting was chaired by Ms Jane Simmonds, Health Protection Agency of the United Kingdom.

Potential topics for the new MODARIA Programme were proposed to the participants in a document (see the Programme Proposal) before the meeting. The ideas for the programme had been developed during 2011–2012 taking into account the work of the now completed EMRAS II , plus suggestions and views from a variety of sources.

The first part of meeting was dedicated to the discussion of the proposals and the setup of working groups.

After discussion of the suggested topics during the TM Plenary Sessions, it was decided that the work of MODARIA should focus on 4 Themes, under which 10 Working Groups were established. These working groups cover a wide range of model applications in planned, existing and emergency exposure situations.

Detailed plans for each of the established Working Groups were elaborated during the meeting. The result of discussions within the working groups were reported back during the TM Plenary Sessions to enable feedback from all MODARIA participants.

Minutes, Participant Lists and presentations given during Working Group meetings can be found on the respective pages of each Working Group.

Second Technical Meeting

The Second Technical Meeting (TM) for MODARIA was held at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna from 11 to 15 November 2013. The TM was attended by 153 participants from 43 Member States and was chaired by Ms Jane Simmonds of the United Kingdom.

MODARIA TM participants include regulators and operators as well as modellers and radiation protection experts, which fosters the exchange of knowledge and experience. Furthermore, the MODARIA Programme provides an international platform to maintain and develop capabilities in radiological impact assessment through comparison and application of assessment models to real situations, and to compile, analyze and evaluate data.

The TM commenced with a Plenary Session, where the Leaders of the 10 Working Groups reported on their respective working group’s results, achievements and progress made since the first MODARIA TM and the subsequent Working Group Interim Meetings held during 2013.

During a Special Plenary Session held on Wednesday morning, actual topics related to radiological impact assessment were addressed. This year’s special session was opened by Mr Malcolm Crick, the Secretary of UNSCEAR, who gave a presentation on the exposure and risk assessment carried out by UNSCEAR following the releases of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan after the 2011 accident. Mr David Copplestone, a member of ICRP Committee 5, gave a presentation outlining the work that the ICRP are currently doing related to the protection of the environment. Finally, Ms Tamara Yankovich, an IAEA staff member, gave a presentation on the remediation of an abandoned uranium mine in Canada.

The Closing Plenary Session, provided an opportunity for the Working Group Leaders to report on the progress made during the week of the TM and their respective group’s working plans for the next year.

The presentations given during all 3 Plenary Sessions and the 10 separate Working Groups, as well as the Working Group Meeting Minutes and Participants Lists, can be found on the respective Working Group pages.


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| Last update: Tuesday, August 12, 2014.