30 April 2024

ARPANSA’s emergency management experts have coordinated Australia’s participation in an international nuclear emergency recovery exercise that concludes today.

Organised by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) as part of its International Nuclear Exercise Series (INEX), the multi-module exercise focuses on the long-term recovery phase following a nuclear or radiological incident.

‘The recovery phase of nuclear or radiological emergency management involves both short and long-term actions to ensure impacted communities are supported and restored,’ said Dr Marcus Grzechnik, ARPANSA’s Director of Modelling, Assessment and Emergency Preparedness.

Using NEA guidelines to lead Australia’s involvement in the exercise, ARPANSA brought together over 20 agencies across all areas of government and emergency services to complete initial modules in Tasmania earlier this month. 

The Australian contingent joined participants from 26 countries to share knowledge and provide recommendations to improve nuclear emergency management worldwide. 

The exercise concludes today with the final modules held virtually. 

‘This exercise is unique as it focuses on the recovery phase of emergency management rather than immediate emergency response,’ said Dr Grzechnik.

'As communities have experienced from the aftermath of fire and flood emergencies, recovery can be long and complex.’

Long-term recovery challenges following a nuclear or radiological incident are generally associated with health and wellbeing impacts, food safety, remediation and decontamination, as well as radioactive waste management.

ARPANSA maintains specialised radiation monitoring and modelling capability to determine the extent of contamination and undertake the assessment of radiation impacts in the event of a nuclear or radiological incident.

‘The exercise has allowed Australia to both learn and share our emergency preparedness and recovery approaches to improve nuclear emergency management nationally and globally. We are particularly grateful to the state of Tasmania for hosting this exercise which also enabled the testing of cross-jurisdictional arrangements’, said Dr Grzechnik. 

To learn more about the NEA exercise, visit: https://www.oecd-nea.org/jcms/pl_70595/inex-6 

To learn more about ARPANSA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response team, visit https://www.arpansa.gov.au/research/radiation-emergency-preparedness-and-response   

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