International Nuclear Emergency Exercises (INEX)

    The INEX series of international nuclear emergency exercises, organized under the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency's (NEA) Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM), have proven successful in testing, investigating and improving national and international response arrangements for nuclear accidents and radiological emergencies. Previous INEX exercises focused largely upon national and international aspects of early phase management of nuclear power plants emergencies. The NEA's work on International Nuclear Emergency Exercises began with the INEX-1 Exercise in June 1993.


    Building on the INEX-4 outcomes, the WPNEM has initiated a new INEX series to conduct a tabletop exercise addressing emergency management aspects of notification, communication and interfaces between and among countries and international organisations related to catastrophic events involving radiation or radiological materials. While the INEX-5 scenario involves a release from a nuclear power plant (NPP), the exercise material is developed to enable NPP and non-NPP countries to conduct regional tabletop exercises to address emergency management aspects of notification, communication and interfaces between and among countries and international organisations. Alternatively, countries may instead conduct independent exercises.

    The INEX-5 exercise will be an opportunity for participating countries to test and demonstrate the value of relevant changes put in place as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident and an important outcome of the exercise will be the identification of good practices as well as key needs for future work that would benefit from international co-operation. The exercise will be conducted from September 2015 to June 2016, with an initial plan to conduct the post-exercise evaluation workshop in spring 2017.


    To build on the momentum created by the INEX-3 consequence management exercise and its follow-up activities, a new INEX series has been developed by WPNEM: the INEX-4 exercise on consequence management and the transition to recovery. The INEX-4 concept is for each participating country to conduct a national tabletop exercise focussing on arrangements for, and issues in, consequence management and transition to recovery in response to a malicious act involving a radiological dispersion device in an urban environment. The exercise objectives focus on the following topical areas:

    • Decision-making on protection strategies;
    • Public health;
    • Monitoring and assessment capability;
    • Safety and security of populations and infrastructure, and
    • Planning for recovery.

    As a tabletop consequence management exercise, the INEX-4 design excludes the early crisis phase, including notification and criminal justice aspects. The exercise will be conducted individually by interested countries between September 2010 – March 2011, with an initial plan to conduct the post-exercise evaluation workshop in December 2011.


    The INEX-3 series of consequence management exercises took place in 2005-2006. Earlier INEX series focused primarily on the pre-release, release and short-term post-release phase of a nuclear emergency. The INEX-3 series was established to help NEA member countries better manage their response in the latter phases of a nuclear emergency. INEX-3 participants addressed the decision-making processes employed once serious radiation contamination has taken place. This was achieved by examining the related consequence management issues through a set of tabletop exercises based on a generic "footprint" radiation contamination pattern. Fifteen countries used this footprint to examine how they might, in the wake of such contamination, implement agricultural countermeasures and food restrictions, adopt "soft" countermeasures (such as travel, trade and tourism controls), communicate with the public and move towards recovery.

    To evaluate the results of this exercise series, a workshop on the INEX-3 consequence management exercises was held in Paris, France on 30 May-1 June 2006. The workshop was organised by the NEA working party on nuclear emergency management (WPNEM) with the support of the US Department of Energy. About 100 participants from 22 countries and two international organisations shared their national experiences of the exercise, collectively analysed their approaches to the exercise, discussed the implications of any differences on decision makers, and identified issues needing additional examination at the international level. The NEA has published a synthesis report of the exercise series, workshop and follow-up activities.

    Based on the experience of this and earlier INEX exercises, the WPNEM has also developed a report on strategic aspects of nuclear and radiological emergency management, which is intended to facilitate compatible and/or consistent approaches to consequence management and recovery amongst the multiple layers of organisations and entities, nationally and internationally, involved in responding to emergency situations.