In the past years, nuclear and radiological incident and emergencies of various causes and types occurred. Experience from responding to these emergencies clearly demonstrated the importance and need of an efficient response system including infrastructural and functional components, emergency plans, procedures, and internally consistent operational criteria.
Many Member States are currently not adequately prepared to respond to such emergency situations. Moreover, without standard procedures or common approaches, protective actions can differ between countries resulting in confusion and mistrust among the public, interfering with recovery operations and possibly leading to severe socioeconomic and political consequences. Furthermore, there is a heightened awareness of the need to strengthen arrangements to respond to emergencies that could arise from criminal or terrorist activities involving nuclear and other radioactive materials.
The Agency has a statutory function to develop standards for the protection of health and the environment and to provide on request for their application, through encouraging research and development; fostering information exchange; promoting education and training; and rendering services. Moreover, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (Early Notification Convention) and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (Assistance Convention) place specific functions on the Agency with regard to developing appropriate radiation monitoring standards and to assisting States in developing their own preparedness arrangements for nuclear and radiological emergencies. According to Assistance Convention the Agency's functions include: collect and disseminate information concerning methodologies, techniques and available results of research relating to response to nuclear accidents or radiological emergencies; preparing emergency plans and the appropriate legislation; developing training programmes for personnel to deal with nuclear accidents and radiological emergencies; and developing appropriate radiation monitoring programmes, procedures and standards.
The activities of the IEC to strengthen Member States preparedness respond to these needs. The Centre develops appropriate safety standards relating to preparedness for and response to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies, independently of the cause, and technical manuals and training materials for the application of those standards. The IEC also provides training and services to assist Member States in strengthening and maintenance their regional, national, local and on-site response capabilities.
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