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EURANOS: European approach to nuclear and radiological emergency management and rehabilitation strategies

Research project under the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme, EURATOM Research and Training Programme on Nuclear Energy (2002-2006), contract no. FI6R-CT-2004-508843.

Nature and scope of the project

This 5-year multi-national project, funded by the European Commission and 23 European Member States, started in April 2004. Integrating 17 national emergency management organisations with 33 research institutes, it brings together best practice, knowledge and technology to enhance the preparedness for Europes response to any radiation emergency and long term rehabilitation.

Individual countries have varying levels of preparedness for responding to radiation emergencies. Such emergencies may occur: within a country or outside it; as a result of an accident or of a deliberate terrorist attack; at a site for which emergency plans already exist, or at an unexpected location. Whatever the cause, an emergency in one country in Europe will affect all others to some extent. By sharing expertise, data and technology between Member States, Europe is placing itself in the best possible position to respond, appropriately and effectively, to a radiation emergency.

Key aims of the project are to:

  • Collate information on the likely effectiveness and consequences of a wide range of countermeasures
  • Provide guidance to emergency management organisations and decision makers on the establishment of an appropriate response strategy
  • Further enhance advanced decision support systems, in particular, RODOS, through feedback from their operational use
  • Create regional initiatives leading to information exchange based on state-of-the-art information technologies
  • Develop guidance which assists Member States in developing a framework for the sustainable rehabilitation of living conditions in contaminated areas
  • Maintain and enhance knowledge and competence through emergency exercises, training and education, thus fostering best practice in emergency response.

Activities

The working programme organises in a structured way the interaction between the operational emergency management organisations and the RTD institutes. It is divided into three RTD ‘Categories’ and a set of ‘Demonstration’ activities. They will be undertaken in two “phases” as illustrated in the Figure.

The RTD “Categories” address specific issues previously identified by the users or by previous research in the area. They are focused on:

  • emergency actions and countermeasures
  • enhancement of decision support systems for operational application
  • rehabilitation strategies and guidance.
The demonstration activities exercise the developed methods and tools in the actual operational environment. In Phase 1 they will focus on methods and IT tools developed under previous EC Framework Programmes. In parallel, the RTD activities that were already requested by end-users will be undertaken. The results of these RTD activities will be subject to demonstrations within Phase 2. Throughout the work programme, training activities are planned for ensuring wide communication of the project results.

At the end of Phase 1, the project will be reviewed using feedback from demonstration activities and training activities, RTD results and the recommendations from users. As a result of this evaluation, the strategic orientation and the key elements of the work programme for the remaining three years will be defined.

Through the integration, within one common project, of RTD institutes with agencies responsible for radiation emergency management and rehabilitation, the project resources can be focussed towards the operational needs of decision makers. This collaborative iteration process will ultimately lead to a shared and integrated technical, methodological and strategic approach for national and cross-border emergency management and rehabilitation in Europe. Such a well conceived approach may progressively lead to the development of an European Policy for emergency management and rehabilitation strategies.