WHO, IAEA conduct nuclear emergency exercise
11 July 2008 | Geneva - 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.
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