Response to Nuclear Emergency affecting Food and Agriculture - D1.50.15


Nuclear and/or radiological emergencies may result in radionuclides being released into the environment, affecting food production and safety. The release of radionuclides to the atmosphere and the landscape and their transfer into the food chain is a dynamic process and concentrations will vary over time and space across landscapes. To respond and manage nuclear and/or radiological emergency in “real-time”, it is critical that up-to-date information on the spatial and temporal distributions of radionuclides in the landscape are necessary for decision-makers and end-users.

The challenge is to collect, monitor and make available information through efficient data collection, data management and spatial and temporal mapping of radionuclide concentrations in soil, water, plants and food. Ensuring a comprehensive and well-managed information system is fundamental for routine monitoring, especially important for effective emergency response and should be implemented at the earliest opportunity after a major accident.


This CRP aims to develop and assess systems of innovative data collection, management and geo-visualization platforms that can be used in both routine monitoring and also for emergency response to nuclear and radiological incidents that could affect food and agriculture. Through these CRP networks of institutions and governments involved in nuclear emergency response in food and agriculture will be strengthened. The CRP will also assist in compiling Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) for actions required in case of a nuclear emergency affecting food and agriculture, as well as sampling analytical SOPs for activity measurements. The objectives of the CRP are:

  • To identify sampling and analytical strategies in nuclear emergencies affecting food and agriculture.
  • To determine how online geo-visualization tools can influence emergency response strategies, approaches to learning from nuclear accidents, and end-users ability to generate future short-term and long-term scenarios about the impact of nuclear accidents on food and agriculture.
  • To ensure that systems use common or standardized protocols that can be shared across different software platforms.
  • To produce low-cost computer-based platforms that are robust and can be used both routinely to monitor every-day sampling as well as in nuclear emergency situations.
  • To produce decision support tools that will help rapid analysis of the situation in radionuclide contamination in food stuffs.


Ten countries participate in this CRP: four research contract holders from China, Morocco, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, four technical contract holders from France, Japan (2) and Macedonia and four agreement holders from Belgium, European Commission, India and Japan and one observer from the European Commission participate in this CRP. Close collaboration has been established as well with IEC/IAEA.


The formulation of CRP was based on on-line consultant meeting held in June 2013. The First RCM was held on 16-20 December 2013 in Vienna, the Second RCM on 28 September - 2 October 2015 in Fukushima-City, Japan and the third RCM on 20-24 February 2017 in Vienna. During third RCM, the presentations of participants were focused on soil and foodstuff sampling, analytical strategies and protocols. Further, advances in data management and geo-visualization tools to support nuclear emergency response in food and agriculture were reviewed. The final RCM will be held in Vienna during the first quarter of 2019.

Key findings:

To date, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are being compiled for sampling and analysis of soil and foodstuffs in case of a nuclear or radiological emergency affecting food and agriculture, protocols for supporting large-scale sampling and radionuclide concentration analysis of foodstuffs are being prepared, and an advanced prototype of an online information system to support decision-making in food safety in case of a nuclear emergency has been developed (called DSS4NAFA). The decision-support system DSS4NAFA is currently being further improved, and a Beta version for extended independent testing is expected to be available in July 2018. The Information Technology Advisory Group (ITAG) of the IAEA has approved the development of DSS4NAFA, and an independent review of the system has been carried out by KPMG in close collaboration with the IAEA - MTIT department to ensure sustainable implementation and information security.

Major efforts are made to integrate the data management and visualization part of DSS4NAFA, and a prototype of the dashboard for decision support with regards to the implementation of food and planting restrictions is available.

Project Officer:

Gerd Dercon and Lee Heng