Ionizing radiation

Morocco, International Organizations and IAEA Member States conduct Bab Al Maghrib simulation exercise to test emergency response to “dirty bomb” attack

Planning for the unthinkable, “accident State” Morocco and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have prepared a two-day emergency exercise starting on 20 November 2013 during which the response to a dirty bomb explosion will be assessed. Countries and international organizations will test their national and international preparedness to respond to a radiological emergency triggered by nuclear security event. The exercise, codenamed “Bab Al Maghrib” marks the first time such scenario is exercised on such a large and international scale. The IAEA and participating international organizations greatly appreciate Morocco’s offer to prepare and host this exercise.

“Bab Al Maghrib” is part of the ConvEx-3 IAEA exercise programme. ConvEx-3 exercises are conducted every three to five years and have, until now, always been based on an accident at a nuclear power plant. The scenario this year is different: a dirty bomb explosion with threats of further attacks and widespread radiological consequences.

How will Morocco, the IAEA, its Member States and international organizations respond and work cooperatively in the early phase of such an event? Nationally they will rely on established national plans and procedures and internationally on their bilateral agreements, IAEA Operations Manual for Incident and Emergency Communication, IAEA web based Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergency, and on the “Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations”.

WHO’s specific objectives for the exercise are

  • to validate decision making procedures at country and regional level for notification of a radiological event under the International Health Regulations (2005);
  • assess WHO capability and capacity to provide international assistance in matters relating to human health in the context of a radiological event; and
  • verify roles, responsibilities and information flows for public messaging at all levels of the organization during a radiological event.

The scenario of “Bab Al Maghrib” was developed by the Moroccan National Exercise Committee. The international dimension of the exercise was coordinated by the Working Group on Coordinated International Exercises as part of the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE).

For more information please contact:

Glenn Thomas
Communications Officer
Telephone: +41 22 791 3983
Mobile: +41 79 509 0677
E-mail: thomasg@who.int

Ms. Nada Osseiran
Communications Officer
WHO Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 4475
Mobile: +4179 445 1624
E-mail: osseirann@who.int

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