The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency has a long tradition of promoting co-operation and assistance among its member countries on preparedness matters related to nuclear or radiological emergencies in the short, medium and long-term. Under the auspices of the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) and its Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM), the NEA serves as a platform for sharing and analysing experience in policy, regulation, and implementation of the system of radiological protection.
In the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents, the notion of sustainable recovery from nuclear or radiological accidents has been at the centre of attention for the international radiological protection community, as well as for policy and decision makers around the world. Many lessons have been learned that have helped improve preparedness for nuclear emergencies and awareness of the global risks that such accidents can entail. Some of the main lessons concern the multidimensional impacts of accidents, e.g. on health, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), the economy, or the environment, as well as their long duration. It is now widely agreed that post-accident recovery actions should be planned in advance.
While the preparedness for immediate nuclear emergency response is well advanced in most countries and is regularly exercised in accordance with international basic safety standards, preparedness for the long-term recovery from such accidents is less developed. This is why in 2019 the CRPPH created the Expert Group on Recovery Management (EGRM) to develop an operational framework of preparedness for recovery management, which could be easily adapted to national conditions. The group has now finalised its report, which is largely based on experience on long-term recovery issues from the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi accidents. The report is intended to serve as reference document to assist countries in developing their own national plans and procedures for post-accident recovery preparedness in a harmonised manner.
The CRPPH assists NEA member countries in the implementation and enhancement of the system of radiological protection. It contributes to the adoption and the maintenance of high standards of protection for the public, workers and the environment in all activities involving the use of ionising radiations, and particularly, but not limited to the field of nuclear energy.
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 long-term recovery phase (existing exposure situation) after a nuclear or radiological accident.
The mission of the CRPPH Working Party on Nuclear Emergency Matters (WPNEM) is to improve nuclear emergency management systems within member countries, and to share its knowledge and experience widely. Within this framework, WPNEM activities focus on identified needs in planning, preparedness and response for the "early" and "intermediate" phases of a nuclear/radiological emergency (including accidents and consequence management for malicious acts), with a view to prepare appropriate recovery actions. The programme of work is developed in co-ordination with member countries and other international organisations.