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Incident and Emergency Centre

The Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) is the global focal point for emergency preparedness and response for nuclear and radiological safety or security related incidents, emergencies, threats or events of media interest. The IEC is also the world’s centre for coordination of international assistance in emergency preparedness and response.

Functions

The major IEC functions include:

  • Developing EPR-related safety standards, guides and tools to support Member States and international organizations; developing methodologies for crisis and consequence management
  • Providing, upon request, appraisal services and assisting Member States in strengthening their EPR capabilities and arrangements
  • Developing, implementing and sustaining a comprehensive EPR capacity building programme; providing assistance to Members States in their capacity building efforts and ensuring the Secretariat's staff members are capable to respond effectively
  • Developing and maintaining the inter-agency EPR framework
  • Providing a focal point for emergency response including provision of emergency assistance, upon request

Irrespective of the cause, the IEC prepares for and responds to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies, which occur in relation to a facility or an activity.

The relevant facilities and activities include, amongst others:

  • Any nuclear reactor
  • Any nuclear fuel cycle facility
  • Any radioactive waste management facility
  • The transport and storage of nuclear fuel or radioactive waste
  • The manufacture, use, storage, disposal and transport of radioisotopes for agricultural, medical and related scientific and research purposes, as appropriate
  • The use of radioisotopes for power generation in space objects

 

Background

Emergency preparedness and response (EPR) capabilities have existed within the IAEA since 1959 – shortly after the Agency was created – and were gradually enhanced after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 and the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

In 2005, the IAEA announced the establishment of the IEC. The decision to create an integrated Centre within the IAEA became more pressing with the anticipated increase in the use of nuclear applications as well as heightened concern over the malicious use of nuclear or radioactive materials.

The IAEA’s role in emergency preparedness and response is undertaken in accordance with the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, the Agency's Statute, the IAEA Safety Standards, relevant decisions of the Policy-Making Organs, inter-agency agreements, and best international practice.

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| Last update: Wednesday, June 18, 2014.