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U.S., Japan Exchange Best Practices on Nuclear Emergency Response

Inspectors peer into the Common Spent Fuel Pool at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Credit: Greg Webb/IAEA

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently led a three day meeting with U.S. and Japan emergency preparedness and response experts to exchange ideas on enhancing nuclear emergency preparedness and response capabilities, both on- and off-site.

The meeting is the latest cooperative effort between the two countries as part of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.

This meeting was of enormous benefit to both the United States and Japan.” said Steve Aoki, Deputy Undersecretary of Energy for Counterterrorism and Counter proliferation and U.S. Chair of the joint U.S.-Japan working group.  “We had a wide array of international, Federal, regional, and State expertise here and I think everyone benefited from the discussions, particularly in the areas of emergency preparedness, planning, readiness assurance, and public messaging and education mechanics.”

In April 2012, the United States and Japan announced the establishment of a U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation. The goal was to build and strengthen a close U.S.-Japan cooperation in the nuclear field. The Bilateral Commission serves as a senior-level standing forum for strategic dialogue on issues affecting the global development of civilian nuclear energy. Under this framework, this was the fourth meeting on emergency management and the first of such meeting held in the United States.

The meeting was hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Discussions focused on the development and evaluation of offsite radiological emergency response plans.

Attendees included officials from the following organizations: NNSA, NRC, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Defense (DOD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Xcel Energy, Japan’s Cabinet Office, and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

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