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UN agencies sponsor international drill on emergency nuclear management

UN agencies sponsor international drill on emergency nuclear management

As part of ongoing global efforts to deal with possible nuclear emergencies, five international organizations and 54 countries will participate in a two-day simulated nuclear accident drill in France beginning tomorrow.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- one of the main organizers -- the exercise will take place at the Gravelines nuclear power plant located in the north of France, near the Belgian border. The Gravelines site is home to six pressurized water reactors.

"This exercise will involve a simulated incident at a fictitious unit on this site with the possibility of an environmental impact," the IAEA said in a statement released at the agency's Vienna headquarters. "Participants may have to decide on measures to protect the public based on actual weather conditions at the time of the exercise."

The 54 participating countries will follow their own actual national emergency response plans and procedures during the exercise, which aims to test arrangements for responding to a nuclear emergency, co-ordinate the release of information, and assess the effectiveness of the responses.

In addition to the IAEA, the drill is being sponsored by the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).