The International Nuclear Emergency Exercise (INEX) series has supported the NEA membership since 1993 in improving the international aspects of nuclear or radiological accident emergency, preparedness and response. Participants in these INEX exercises share information, data, knowledge and experience to test all aspects of emergency management systems and approaches, identify gaps and provide recommended strategies to improve nuclear emergency management worldwide.

The sixth in the series, INEX-6, will focus on the planning and preparedness for the transition and/or the recovery phases after a nuclear or radiological accident. This extremely complex and multi-dimensional exercise will serve to identify gaps in policy, preparedness and regulation. It will provide an opportunity for participating countries to test and demonstrate the value of  the changes put in place nationally, regionally and internationally following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, as well as to assess the efficiency of the guidance and methods developed in this regard by the ongoing activities of the Committee of Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH).

The newly formed INEX-6 Preparatory Task Force met for the first time on 1 March 2021 to discuss the goals of the exercise. The objective of this task force is to frame preliminary thoughts on INEX-6, narrow its scope by prioritising the areas where the exercise could lead to substantial improvement, as well as reflecting on the methods and approaches that could be applied. The task force comprises eight experts representing five countries: Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Slovak Republic.

During the March meeting the participants also exchanged information on the ongoing work of relevant NEA expert groups that could support the development of INEX-6, such as  the Expert Group on Recovery Management and the Expert Group on Non-radiological Public Health Aspects of Radiation Emergency Planning and Response. Based on these exchanges, a preliminary plan and possibilities for INEX-6 will be presented to the Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) at its next annual meeting on 3-5 November 2021.

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