HERCA-WENRA Workshop Concludes
Posted June 15, 2016, 9:39 a.m.
Trust between authorities competent in radiation protection, nuclear safety and the relevant authorities involved in disaster management is of fundamental importance to establish the rapid and reliable channels of information, communication and alerts necessary for a harmonised approach in the early phase of a nuclear accident. This was one of the conclusions from the Workshop organised by HERCA and WENRA on the implementation of the HERCA-WENRA Approach, in Bled, Slovenia on 13-15 June 2016.
The aim of this first-of-a-kind workshop was to discuss operational and pragmatic means to implement the HERCA-WENRA Approach with the key actors involved in nuclear emergency planning and response and therewith contribute to an enhanced protection of the population, particularly in a cross-border context.
During the workshop, it was noted that the authorities competent in radiation protection, nuclear safety and civil protection need to continue to work on the possible ways of implementation of the HERCA-WENRA Approach, while taking into account existing international standards and mechanisms. The participants underlined the need for setting up an effective and coordinated cooperation with all the relevant authorities involved in disaster management, with the support of EC DG ECHO.
The workshop was attended by representatives from national authorities, competent in radiation protection, nuclear safety and disaster management, and from international organisations, such as the European Commission - EC, the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency -OECD/NEA.
They highlighted one major issue which is the alignment of planning zones and the alignment of protective actions during response. The implementation of these recommendations have proven to be difficult, even during exercises, due to political, historical, local and financial issues.
They also identified issues for further work on food-chain protection, the extension of protective actions at distances beyond the emergency planning zones and the use of non-radiological criteria for deciding on protective actions.
Furthermore, the participants identified some areas with nuclear power plants near national borders in Europe where in-depth work for implementing the HWA should be prioritized.
The HERCA-WENRA Approach represents the way forward for a more harmonization of emergency preparedness and response in Europe. The implementation of this Approach is a long journey requiring the active cooperation of relevant authorities in the European countries. This workshop was the first active step towards closer cooperation with the relevant authorities involved in disaster management. HERCA and WENRA are looking forward to further co-operation in the coming years involving also other stakeholders if needed.