IAEA & CTBTO Sign Practical Arrangement on Nuclear Emergencies

IAEA Head Nuclear Safety and Security, Juan Carlos Lentijo (left) and CTBTO Director International Data Centre Randy Bell (right).

30 June 2016

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) have been cooperating in the area of response to nuclear or radiological emergencies since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011. Today they signed a practical arrangement to cement that cooperation -- based on the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE) and Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan (JPlan).

IAEA Head of Nuclear Safety and Security, Juan Carlos Lentijo and CTBTO International Data Centre Director, Randy Bell, signed the arrangement on behalf of their organizations. 

These practical arrangements streamline the process of getting needed information to the right organisations during emergencies. Each organisation contributes its specialised knowledge or data, in keeping with its area of expertise.Randy Bell
Director of the International Data Centre

The CTBTO is the only global network which detects atmospheric radioactivity. According to the JPlan, the CTBTO’s role for emergency preparedness and response include continuously gathering real-time particulate and noble gas monitoring data at its radionuclide stations of the International Monitoring System (IMS) and in response to an emergency, providing real-time particulate and noble gas monitoring data, including confirmation of no detection.

This is a very good step to promote and enhance cooperation.IAEA Head of Nuclear Safety and Security, Juan Carlos Lentij

In any post-emergency phase, the CTBTO is to provide results on radionuclide air concentrations from its global monitoring network and related expertise; as well as advice on atmospheric transport and dispersion predictions.

The CTBTO has been a formal member of the IACRNE since 2012 and jointly sponsors the JPlan. The CTBT shared its monitoring data and analysis reports with the IACRNE in 2011 during the Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. At the time, these atmospheric radionuclide observations were used by the IAEA, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and other IACRNE organizations to track radiation, monitor levels of radioactivity, and helped prepare accurate public health advisories.

Currently, the IMS includes 283 operational monitoring stations (of a planned total of 337 facilities worldwide), 63 of which are radionuclide sensors. Data from the stations is sent in real-time to the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria for processing and analysis. The system is designed to detect nuclear blasts, but also picks up a vast amount of data that are used for a wide range of civil and scientific purposes.