The national workshop on measures to protect the public in an emergency at a light water reactor began on Sunday and will last for five days.

Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Hassan al-Mohannadi said that the 5-day workshop is part of the activities of the third phase of the National Technical Co-operation Programme between Qatar, represented by the Department of Radiation and Chemical Protection, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is related to strengthening the national capabilities for preparedness for radiological emergencies, with the participation of the various national bodies that have a role in responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies.

In his speech on the behalf of Hassan al-Mohannadi at the opening of the workshop, the manager of the Department of Radiation and Chemical Protection, Engineer Abdulrahman al-Abdul Jabbar said the workshop aims to review the IAEA document on "Actions to Protect the Public in an Emergency due to Severe Conditions at a Light Water Reactor", and training on developing national arrangements and procedures to protect the public from the accidents at these reactors.

He pointed out that the workshop includes health effects in radiological and nuclear emergencies, the concept of operations during an accident, as well as seminars between participants and experts, office training scenarios, and how to deal with the public through the media, as well as theoretical exercises on the development of these procedures.

He pointed out that some countries of the world resort to the use of peaceful nuclear applications in various medical, industrial and agricultural fields, and building energy reactors and research reactors and others. However, he warned in the same context that the misuse of these technologies may result in environmental disasters that affect human health, food, marine, agricultural and other resources.

He noted the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in supporting countries in various areas of radiation and nuclear security and safety in terms of training, development and awareness programmes in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and radioactivity.

Speaking to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Abdul Jabbar reviewed the workshop's multiple aims for establishing preventive arrangements to protect the public in case of emergency from light water reactors.

He also emphasised that Qatar's cooperation with the IAEA is very advanced in this regard. On the co-operation of Qatar, represented by the Department of Radiation and Chemicals Protection, he said that the country has attracted over the past years more than 100 experts from the agency, especially after it joined the agency. He noted that during the current year of 2020 there will be several projects the two sides will cooperate on. Some of these projects are concerned of developing radiological and food laboratories, improvement of infrastructure in order to protect from radiation, in addition to enhance response capacities at emergency situations.