Training for an efficient response to nuclear or radiological emergency

ConvEx-3 are full-scale exercises designed to evaluate the response to a severe nuclear or radiological emergency, and in particular to identify capabilities and emergency response arrangements that require improvements. The ConvEx-3 exercise provides the opportunity to identify deficiencies in national and / or international emergency response capabilities and responses that may prevent the response to minimize the consequences of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

The International ConvEx-3 exercise took place between June 20 and 22, with a scenario that considered Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Paks nuclear power plant as damaged units. The scenario of the exercise was composed of two interrelated scenarios:

  • The accident scenario at nuclear power plant lasted 27 hours;
  • The radiological consequences management scenario lasted 36 hours and was divided into two time periods: 27 hours for the scenario at the nuclear power plant and the next 9 hours beginning practically at 72 hours after declaring the emergency.

Romania's objectives for the ConvEx-3 2017 exercise were identified, having the aim to validate the level of preparedness of local and central public authorities in responding to cross-border nuclear and radiological emergencies that belong to the Emergency Preparedness V (CPU V) category. The goals at national level are as follows:

  • Testing the information flow at the national level and at the level of the neighbouring counties with Hungary;
  • Testing the decision-making process;
  • Testing the protection strategy;
  • Testing the public communication;
  • Testing radiological monitoring for the implementation of long-term measures;
  • Identifying best practice response;
  • Evaluation of the information flow regarding relocation capacities in the Arad, Bihor, Timis counties.

Romania was, through representatives of CNCAN, member of the Inter-Agency Committee on Response to Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies. RATEN ICN actively participated in the preparatory meetings of the exercise ConvEx-3 2017 (coordination meetings for organizing the national participation at the exercise), being represented by the head of the Radiation, Environmental and Civil Protection Laboratory (LRPMPC) of RATEN ICN Pitesti, who was involved also during the exercise, being Chief Assessor.

More precisely, RATEN ICN participated by evaluating the gamma radiation radionuclide content of a simulated contaminated water sample and reporting the results in a predefined format to CNCAN (the national contact point of the RANET network). The activity carried out was on one hand a verification exercise on the national communication channel and, on the other hand, a verification of the radio-analytical performances of the RATEN ICN LRPMPC.

Overall, the ConvEx-3 2017 exercise was a success, providing maximum value to response organizations at all levels. Although a number of areas need to be improved, organizations have demonstrated that they can successfully respond to such event.


Alexandru Toma, RATEN ICN