IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Crisis: IRSN observes a nuclear emergency response drill in the United States

The U.S.A. held an emergency response drill at a nuclear reactor site in South Carolina to which the US Department of Energy (US DOE) invited IRSN as an observer, as part of an international delegation.

From July 21st to 23rd 2015, nearly 700 local and federal responders involved by the State of South Carolina and the FRPCC (Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee, composed of 20 federal departments, agencies and offices) held a drill designed to test the emergency response organization following an accident at a pressurized water reactor operated by Duke Energy.
Regular drills are a vital part of preparedness for a nuclear or radiological emergency and are carried out to test in situ the management organization and the methods and tools deployed.

The U.S. DOE invited an international delegation to observe the drill, among them IRSN. Since the U.S. DOE has capabilities and internal responsibilities which, in France, are delegated to IRSN, this was a valuable opportunity for the Institute to discuss technical aspects and share experience regarding the organization and deployment of resources in the event of an emergency.

More generally, while the technical resources deployed by the U.S. DOE and IRSN are similar, the Institute found that America is more advanced in terms of communication logistics and data management.

IRSN and the U.S. DOE are now planning to hold joint training sessions for their field teams in order to be prepared for a possible joint response in the event of an international accident or at the particular request of the IAEA.

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