Thursday, December 07, 2006

IAEA's Incident & Emergency Centre (IEC)

I recently read an online news article about a construction worker who found a small, shiny, metallic object at a building site in Chile. He put it in his pocket, showed it to a colleague, his boss, and six other coworkers. By evening, the worker was in the hospital, vomiting from radiation poisoning. What he´d found was a powerful, unshielded iridium-192 source. By accident, it had dislodged from equipment where it was used to check for welding flaws in the building under construction. Within days, Chile´s radiation and health authorities placed an urgent call for help to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Incident & Emergency Centre hotline.

The Incident & Emergency Centre (IEC) serves as the IAEA's focal point for responding to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies and for promoting improvement in Member States’ emergency response and preparedness.

The IEC provides for an integrated system through which States, their competent authorities, international organizations, technical experts and the Secretariat can effectively share information and experience, and coordinate the provision of assistance for response to or preparedness for incidents or emergencies.

The Incident and Emergency Centre was established 1 February 2005. It supersedes the former Emergency Response Centre (ERC) and its functions have been extended to include: incident reporting (INES/NEWS), coordinating prompt assistance to requesting States in the case of a nuclear security incident, and to providing coordinated technical support to the Agency’s Division of Public Information in the case of an event of safety or security concern to the media.

No comments:

Post a Comment