The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has held its first-ever emergency preparedness and response (EPR) training course in Arabic for personnel in Qatar tasked to be responders in case of a nuclear or radiological emergency. The course was designed to help strengthen and implement Qatar’s EPR arrangements.

Organized in collaboration with the Qatari Ministry of Municipality and Environment and its Department of Radiation and Chemicals Protection, the virtual course focused on the responsibilities of first responders, activities associated with the incident and effective communication with the public.

The training course covered a number of aspects across three modules, including  the structure of incident command systems, actions and activities associated with incident commanders from hazards assessments and management of the scene to personnel protection and site decontamination, and best practices for the protection of both first responders and the public.

Qatar has no nuclear installations within its own territory. However, several land-based nuclear power reactors are in operation in the region, and one is in construction as close as 50 kilometres from its borders, necessitating a strengthened nuclear and radiological emergency response capability and management infrastructure.

“We consider this training course to be useful in improving identified arrangements in this area at the national level,” said Bader Al-Saadi, a nuclear engineer at the Qatari Ministry of Municipality and Environment, which is the official regulator for nuclear and radiation activities. “It is also important to us to gain an understanding of what type of assistance can be requested from the IAEA in a radiological emergency, and how to request it.”