India has become the 35th country to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Response and Assistance Network (RANET), a group of states which offer assistance to mitigate the consequences of nuclear or radiological emergencies.
Through RANET, states can register their emergency preparedness and response capabilities, including support for radiation measurements, medical advice or treatment, and specialized equipment. This enables the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre to promptly mobilize an assistance team upon request of a state affected by an emergency.
“India’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities can now be offered to countries during an emergency if these countries ask for assistance. This shows a strong commitment by India to strengthen the international framework for nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response,” said Elena Buglova, Head of the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre, which serves as a focal point for coordinating and facilitating international assistance. “We hope that India’s decision to join RANET will encourage more countries to become members.”
Participating in RANET is one way in which states fulfil their obligations under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, which was adopted in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. The network was formally established after a decision by the IAEA Member States in 2000. RANET members share up-to-date information about the type of assistance they can offer so that response teams can be assembled based on the support required.
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In March 2019, for example, France provided medical treatment, facilitated by the IAEA through RANET, for a person who was exposed to high doses of radiation over an extended period in Georgia. Other cases, such as assistance missions by RANET members to Cambodia and Trinidad and Tobago in 2012, involved searching for and recovering lost radiation sources and assessing patients overexposed by radiation during medical treatment.
The following 35 countries are now part of RANET: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America.