Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center Opens In Fukushima

The designation of the IAEA Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Center, which will coordinate several training activities related to nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response, was marked with a ceremony on Monday.

Japan's Ambassador to IAEA Shin Maruo, Deputy Governor of Fukushima Prefecture Masao Uchibori, and IAEA Incident and Emergency Center Head Elena Buglova delivered remarks during the ceremony.

The Center will be home to training courses, workshops and exercises aimed at enhancing nuclear emergency preparedness and response capacity, both in Japan and worldwide, IAEA said in a press release. The Center was set up in light of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster, and is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Fukushima Prefecture.

The first activity in the Center, an IAEA RANET Workshop, will start on Tuesday. More than 40 experts from 18 countries will participate in the workshop, which will involve a field exercise in Fukushima Prefecture. During this exercise, participants will conduct radiation monitoring and environmental sampling and analysis. They will monitor beta and gamma dose rate, the contamination level of the ground surface and conduct gamma spectrum analysis and vehicle-based monitoring.

Through RANET, the IAEA can mobilize the provision of expert support and equipment by request under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.

The Center forms part of the IAEA's work to further strengthen international emergency preparedness and response, as guided by the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety which was unanimously endorsed by IAEA Member States in September 2011.

"Working together, the IAEA's Member States have already made significant progress in this area, but we can never stop working to improve it further," Buglova said at the ceremony. "Through efforts here at the IAEA RANET Capacity Building Center and elsewhere, the IAEA is working to make nuclear energy as safe as humanly possible," she added.

One IAEA staff member is based at the Center, with other IAEA staff members visiting as needed. Further workshops will be organized, both for Japanese and international participants, the global nuclear watchdog said.

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