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Innovative Cluster for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INCLUDING (Innovative Cluster for Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies)

Período documentado: 2021-02-01 hasta 2022-07-31

INCLUDING is an orchestrated action among the project partners to enhance the Member States’ collaboration on a sensitive matter like Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (RNEs). The range of intervention of the project is broad as required by the plurality of scenarios that may initiate a RNE and by the multidisciplinary set of actions to put in place for the prevention, immediate response, second response and recovery phases. These phase in RNEs may stretch also to the long term with the site decommissioning and in case of severe accident in a nuclear reactor (i.e Chernobyl and Fukushima scenarios). In this framework it is essential for Member States, as also dictated by the “Action Plan to enhance preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security risks” issued by the EC on 18.10.2017 to:

• Steadily update training and exercise programs to realistic scenarios and promote the uptake of new technologies and procedures;
• Plan an efficient Pan-European collaboration scheme for sharing expertise and equipment and aimed at improving the mutual assistance program with a more rapid resources mobilization;
• Plan and execute joint exercises to test and evaluate a common approach to possible intervention scenarios and to promote standardization and interoperability.

The INCLUDING workplan is specifically tailored to address all these challenges and from aboth the Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security perspectives, as in the definition of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In this framework, INCLUDING aims also at contributing with a EC funded action, to the implementation in Members States of the IAEA guidelines of the establishment of a Nuclear Safety Culture and of a Nuclear Security Regime. The contribution from INCLUDING is, in particular, the development of a Federation of testbeds where to test in simulated but realistic scenarios, innovative technological solutions and to raise the awareness of Nucler Safety and Security organizations in Member States about the usefulness of training and exercise programs.
The work performed by the INCLUDING project during the first reporting period (M1-M18) has been in line with the planned workplan but with the postponing to Spring 2022 of the 1st Joint Action planned in the ENEA Bologna Centre and of the 2nd Joint Action planned in Mikkeli in April 2021. The 1st project annual workshop has been held in remote modality on 5th October 2020 in place of an event initially programmed in physical presence.

Central to the INCLUDING vision is the development of a Federation of Pan-European testbeds for the execution of exercise and training activities in the RN emergency domain and managed at a centralized level by a web-based tool, the INCLUDING Web Based Platform (IWBP). In particular the IWBP is aimed at providing a friendly Graphical User Interface, acting as a central point of access to all the necessary resources and services used by the INCLUDING experimenters and to illustrate all the essential information for the INCLUDING federation that the experimenters should take advantage of, in a straightforward manner. The developmental phase of the IWBP has progressed in view of the finalization scheduled at M36. The beta version of the IWBP has been presented to INCLUDING partners and also to external stakeholders during an online webinar on 21th September 2020.

Another key task of INCLUDING is to assess how the scenarios of RN threats leading to emergencies are evolving and with a particular attention to nuclear security scenarios. The main outcome of this action has been the "Evolution of Radiological and Nuclear Threats: Intermediate Note for Task 3.1" released on 31th May 2020 and available on Zenodo platform (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4001778). The report analyzes the trends which are likely to characterize radiological and nuclear (RN) events that might be conducted by criminal or terrorist actors in the future. Within Task3.2 of WP3 are under study the main gaps in the exercise and training functions related to RN preparedness and with a focus on single Member State capacity building. It have been considered seven relevant gaps from the Encircle project dynamic catalogue and established working groups to analyze the detailed aspects of these gaps and their specific projection in the RN domain.
In WP4 INCLUDING has been revising the "EDEN training matrix" approach in support of developing the respective INCLUDING one, which aims to establish a set of learning objectives that can be easily adapted to any RN education and training activity.
As a part of this project activity, it have been issued two internal reports that analyze main RN trainig courses in USA, other extra-EU countries and in international organizations.

In WP5 INCLUDING has been organizing three different Joint Actions and as follows:

- A Table Top Exercise (TTX) in Bologna (Italy). Initially scheduled for June 2020 and postponed to 2022 for the COVID 19 pandemic;
- A Field Technical Exericse (FTX) in Mikkeli (Finland) - The FTX has been postponed to 19/22 September 2021;
- A Large Scale Demo in Athens (Greece) - The action is confirmed to take place on 21/23 June 2021.

The three Joint Actions are based on a nuclear security scenarios and for each Joint Action it have been issued, despite at different extent of finalization, an Exercise Action Plan, whose structure is based on the IAEA Technical Guidance “Preparation, Conduct and Evaluation of Exercises from Detection of and Response to Act Involving Nuclear and Other Material Out of Regulatory Control” and with additional inputs/structure guidance from CEN Workshop Agreement 17514 “Systematic assessment of innovative solutions for crisis management - Trial guidance methodology”.

For INCLUDING collaboration with other EU and international projects is an important way for cross-fertilization and for avoiding duplication of efforts. WP6 is specifically devoted to this aim and the most remarkably results during the first eighteen months of INCLUDING have been a fruitful collaboration with the many H2020, EAS and NATO SPS projects
During the first eighteen months of the project INCLUDING has reached the high level objectives to enhance the collaboration between the stakholders in Members States on a sensitive matter like nuclear safety and security. In particular the project has put in place initiatives at various level and in a wide range of interventions to strengthen the operative part of Member States nuclear security regime as suggested by IAEA in the publication "Objective and essential elements of a State Nuclear Security Regime". In particular INCLUDING has started to assess main weaknesses in the Nuclear security training programs and in the prevention and response capabilities of Member States. The organization of practical exercises with nuclear security scenarios has progressed and in order to promote sharing of equipment and expertise between participants countries. The main societal impact of INCLUDING is a improved coordination of stakeholders at Pan-European level to improve prevention, detection and response to RN emergencies with benefits for the EU citizens safety and security.
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