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Ionizing radiation

Radiation emergencies

The scale and types of radiological and nuclear emergencies may range from an isolated occupational or medical over-exposure of a person, to a major catastrophe with global dimensions. Regardless the scale or a cause of an accident, there is a common denominator: human health. The International Health Regulations (2005) include in its’ scope radio-nuclear hazards and countries should meet the core national capacities requirements for response to radiation emergencies. Public health sector must be prepared to respond and to provide medical care to the injured. WHO and its global network REMPAN assist countries to strengthen preparedness and response to radiation emergencies.


Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE)

For strengthening coordination in response to radiation emergencies the international organizations with relevant responsibilities have formed IACRNE, where International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the prime coordinating agency. Functional links have been established between agencies to ensure continuous communication prior to, during, and after emergencies and the arrangements are described in the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations (EPR-JPLAN 2013).

Online resources from WHO partners


  • Information on Preparedness and Response to Nuclear or Radiological Incidents and Emergencies

  • Advice on immediate actions for the prevention and mitigation of radioactive contamination of agricultural foodstuffs

  • UNSCEAR 2008 report Vol II. Annex C 'Radiation exposure in accidents'

  • EC DG ENER - Nuclear emergency preparedness and response

  • Information on Radiation Emergency Preparedness Service

  • Infomation on radiation emergency preparedness and response for the general public and professionals

  • REAC/TS, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

  • from U.S. Departement of Health and Human Services HHS/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response ASPR

  • Information on nuclear and radiological emergency management

Contact us

ionizingradiation@who.int

Radiation Programme
Department of Public Health and Environment
World Health Organization
CH1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland

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