A central focus of the IEC's mission is helping Member States enhance their own preparedness for nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies.
The activities of the IEC to achieve this include:
- Developing appropriate safety standards relating to preparedness for and response to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies
- Developing technical tools for the application of the IAEA Safety Standards
- Providing training for the implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards
- Supporting Member States to strengthen and maintain their response capabilities at any level (i.e. operator, local, regional, national and, where appropriate, international)
- Providing appraisal services (Emergency Preparedness Review Missions: EPREV) in Member States to assess national EPR arrangements and capabilities and to contribute to establishing and enhancing their arrangements and capabilities consistent with the Safety Standards
- Conducting exercises in order to evaluate and improve response arrangements and capabilities
In the past years, nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies of various types resulting from various causes have occurred. Experience from responding to these emergencies clearly demonstrates the importance of and need for an efficient response system, the right infrastructure and functional capabilities, adequate emergency plans, procedures, and internally consistent operational criteria.
Furthermore, there is a heightened awareness of the need to strengthen arrangements to respond to emergencies triggered by a nuclear security event (e.g. explosion of a radiological disposal device, sabotage at a nuclear power plant or during transport of nuclear or radioactive material, etc.).
The IAEA has a statutory function to develop standards for the protection of health and the environment and to assist, on request, their implementation by Member States. 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 assisting States in developing their own preparedness arrangements for nuclear and radiological emergencies.
According to the Assistance Convention, the Agency's functions include: collecting and disseminating information concerning methodologies, techniques and available results of research relating to response to nuclear accidents or radiological emergencies; assist with 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.
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