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WHO, IAEA conduct nuclear emergency exercise

WHO completed a two-day emergency radiation exercise today. This test involved a simulated accident at the Laguna Verde nuclear power plant in Mexico. It was coordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), together with 74 of its Member States and 9 international organizations.

The test utilized all WHO systems including its headquarters in Geneva, regional headquarters in Washington, and the country office in Mexico. Permanent coordination was established with the Emergency Unit and National Focal Point for IHR (2005) of the Mexican Ministry of Health.

Results of the exercise are currently being evaluated.

This exercise is a crucial part of the international efforts to be fully prepared to respond to any radiological or nuclear incident or emergency worldwide. Under the International Health Regulations (2005), and as the lead health agency within the United Nations, WHO has a mandate to coordinate any international public health response to all types of public health risks and emergencies, including radio-nuclear events.

The IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) and emergency operations centres of Member States and international organizations were fully activated as part of the exercise. The IEC received notification of the simulated accident from Mexico and informed participating Member States and international organizations about the test emergency. The centre also coordinated the response to requests for assistance to the affected Member States.

The exercise was prepared by the Working Group on Coordinated International Exercises as part of the Inter-Agency Committee for Response to Nuclear Accidents (IACRNA). For this exercise the group comprised the IAEA, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA), WHO, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mexico and the neighbouring countries of Mexico.

For more information contact:

Nada Osseiran
Advocacy and Communications Officer
Public Health and Environment
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 4475
Mobile: +41 79 445 1624
Fax: +41 22 791 4127

Sari Setiogi
Media Relations Officer
Health Security and Environment
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3576
Mobile: +41 79 701 9467
Fax: +41 22 791 4721

Daniel Epstein
Information Officer
Pan American Health Organization/WHO
Telephone: +1 202 974 3459
Mobile: +1 202 316 5679