HUNGARIAN ATOMIC ENERGY AUTHORITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE ORGANIZATION
The Governmental Co-ordination Committee (GCC) is responsible for the preparedness and operation of the National Emergency Response System for every type of emergencies. The Committee operates a Nuclear Emergency Working Committee (NEWC) responsible for elaborating proposals of protective actions to the decision-makers in the case of a nuclear or radiological emergency. An expert Group of the NEWC is set up in the HAEA premises during an emergency. The emergency response activities are governed by a uniformly structured Nuclear Emergency Response Plan worked out for all levels of responders. The National Nuclear Emergency Response System includes every major organization that plays role in a nuclear or radiological emergency. The Nationwide Environmental Radiological Monitoring System is meant to gather information on any type of radiation appearing on the territory of Hungary and it consists of a central and several local information centres.
The president of GCC is the Minister of the Interior, in case of nuclear emergencies the vice-president is the Director General of the HAEA. The HAEA is responsible for early notification in the case of a nuclear accident under the international and bilateral agreements. The HAEA operates the Centre of Emergency Response, Training and Analysis, which provides the tools, premises and data when fulfilling the duties of HAEA during nuclear emergencies.
The programmes of radiological networks of several ministries for carrying out measurements around the Paks NPP are harmonized in the framework of the Regulatory Environmental Radiation Monitoring System in order to build up a common database.
Role of the HAEA ERO within the Hungarian Nuclear Emergency Response System
The HAEA Nuclear Safety Directorate – as the regulatory body for nuclear safety related issue of nuclear installations – has the right to approve (or reject) the nuclear emergency response plan of the nuclear installations.
The HAEA is responsible for evaluating any on-site nuclear incident with respect to its possible off-site consequences. More closely, should a reactor accident occur (within Hungary's borders or elsewhere), the HAEA Emergency Response Organization (ERO) is expected to analyze the situation and predict the possible consequences, and to estimate the actual and/or possible source term following a release from the damaged nuclear installation. The HAEA ERO has acquired and continuously develops the tools and expertise necessary to fulfill these tasks.
The new legal background has changed the roles and tasks of the national nuclear emergency preparedness organizations. Primarily this means that both the technology and radiation related parts of the process of advising the decision-makers in case of a nuclear or radiological accident are the responsibility of the HAEA ERO. The process involves assessing the status of the given facility, estimating the source term, evaluating the radiological consequences, and developing the necessary countermeasures to protect the population.
HAEA is the international contact point for receiving and sending notifications in any nuclear or radiological emergency at both national and international levels. In practice this means that – on a 24-hour basis –the HAEA Inspector on Duty receives messages from the Hungarian nuclear installations and the Emergency Inspector on Duty receives messages from the international community on any nuclear emergency. In this context, the international community firstly includes the IAEA, the EU and the neighbouring countries with which Hungary has signed bilateral notification agreements.
As for the outgoing notification messages, the HAEA ERO is the single contact point in Hungary responsible for the notification of the international community on any nuclear or radiological event having a potential effect on the population.
Experts of HAEA are active participants in the revision of the National Emergency Response Plan. Furthermore, the HAEA - as the regulatory body in nuclear safety matters - is one of the approving organizations of the National Emergency Plan.
Structure of the HAEA ERO and tasks of its groups
The HAEA ERO consists of three groups:
- the Nuclear Group is responsible for nuclear analysis,
- the Radiological Group carries out radiological analysis, and
- the Management Group - heading the entire ERO - is responsible for filling up EMERCON notification formats, for compiling press releases, for the translating of reports, and for tasks involving logistics.
The Crisis Manager as the last approver is responsible for all of the documents formulated and dispatched by the ERO. The various reports that are prepared by the groups are required to be checked by the Group Managers. The Reporter is the Deputy Head of the ERO and this functionary prepares the ECURIE messages to the EU and the EMERCON reports, which are sent to the IAEA and to the countries with which Hungary has bilateral agreements. The PR Expert compiles the press releases of the HAEA ERO and organizes the media relations of the organization. The Crisis Manager holds a meeting every hour with the Group Managers.
The Secretary is responsible for recording the relevant information. The Telecommunication Officer receives the incoming documents, and registers and dispatches the outgoing documents. The Computer Expert is responsible for maintaining the computing tools and for solving any problems that may arise. If the functioning of the ERO is prolonged, the Logistics Officer takes care of the board of the members of HAEA ERO.
The tasks of the Nuclear Expert are to determine the source term and to assist the Nuclear Analyzer in estimating the status of the plant. The reports prepared by the Nuclear Group are checked by the Nuclear Manager. The members of the Nuclear Group are in contact with the Site Inspector on Duty, who is on-site at the nuclear power plant, and they can use the information received from him/her during formulation of the results of any analysis.
The Radiological Group - depending on the results of the Nuclear Group, on the measured radiation-distribution data, and on the meteorological forecasts - analyses and estimates, and also predicts the actual and future radiological situation, and suggests counter-measures for the decision makers to reduce the possible environmental consequences. The members of the Radiological Group are: the Radiological Manager, who leads the group; the Radiological Expert, who carries out calculations with the environmental consequences software; the Radiological Analyzer, who monitors the national radiation data and together with the Radiological Expert estimates the radiological situation; as well as the Meteorological Expert, who makes meteorological prognosis.
Inspectors on duty
The primary responsibility of the HAEA's Inspector on Duty is to deal with incident reports from Paks NPP or other nuclear facilities. The Emergency Inspector on Duty deals with reports from sources outside Hungary. The HAEA's Inspectors on Duty are available 24 hours a day by fax or phone.
The Inspectors have mobile communicators, which are used for phoning and sending or receiving faxes. In case of less significant events the Inspector on Duty has the right to decide upon the actions or measures to be taken; in case of nuclear emergencies, however, the Inspector on Duty is required to alert the Crisis Manager (CM). It is the CM's responsibility to decide whether to mobilize the HAEA ERO.
Once a decision has been made to commence the operation of the HAEA ERO (exercise or accident), the alerting and calling in of the experts to the emergency centre follow a pre-prepared alerting system.
The Crisis Manager alerts the Emergency Inspector on Duty, who alerts the Leaders of the Groups, and they in turn alert the members of the groups. After arriving to the CERTA crisis centre, the staff immediately starts to play their roles in the emergency response organization.
Technical background, international co-operation
Based on a background of painstaking effort (effectively assisted by a number of international and foreign national organizations) the CERTA crisis centre was established in the HAEA, dedicated to the emergency response activity of the Authority. The centre contains all the equipment necessary for the proper functioning of the HAEA ERO.
The structure and operation of the HAEA ERO are clearly defined in constantly updated QA documents.
Other procedures - called methodological procedures - assist the experts in preparing an analysis based on the available information. There are two main types of methodological procedures: one of them is meant for estimating and predicting the nuclear status and the source term (the released activity), the other is for estimating the radiological status and the expected environmental consequences.
The radiological and nuclear experts of the HAEA ERO are supported by several items of analytical software. Furthermore, various databases (PRIS – Power Reactor Information System, TroubleBase (glossary of unusual events), plant scheme glossary) and results of previous analyses (AGNES project, various R&D reports) are also available.
The Centre is equipped with advanced computing and telecommunication tools.
A number of international co-operation programs have contributed towards develop the HAEA's emergency preparedness. Two of them were set up by the IAEA, two by the European Union, and one by the British Government.
The framework of the RER/9/050 Harmonisation Project is aimed at harmonising the emergency preparedness plans and organisations in the Central and Eastern European countries.
The HUN/9/020 Model Project had the goal of assisting the establishment of the HAEA emergency preparedness capability and later on - in its second phase - it was intended that it contribute to the development of nation-wide emergency preparedness.
The centre is dedicated to the emergency response activity of the HAEA. It is used exclusively for nuclear emergency analysis, training and exercises. It includes a 135 m2 room provided with independent uninterruptible power supply and a diesel generator, telecommunication and service rooms. Separately a 90 m2 training centre is available for courses and demonstrations.
The nuclear experts of the HAEA ERO are supported by a number of analyzer software tools. These software tools include a plant safety parameter display system (called CERTA VITA) dedicated specifically to the Paks NPP, the severe accident analysis and diagnosis program ADAM, and the source term estimator InterRAS. CERTA VITA (developed by the Atomic Energy Research Institute, Budapest) provides the most important 2000 parameters of the plant with a 10 seconds cycle time on specifically designed displays, schemes and trends.
The ADAM program was first developed for western PWR’s, later for VVER-440 type reactors by the ERI (Electric Research Institute, Washington, USA). The experts in the Nuclear Group use the Paks NPP specific version of the software. The ADAM program can be used for diagnostic purposes, but primarily it can simulate accidental scenarios very rapidly. The simulated scenarios may contribute to the prognosis of the future state of the damaged unit.
The source term is calculated by means of the InterRAS (originally RASCAL) developed by the US NRC and distributed by the IAEA. The estimation by the InterRAS can be performed with limited available plant information. Its simplicity and the very rapid calculation are the advantages of the software, therefore the InterRAS is used in the early phase of an accident. The detailed source term results of the InterRAS can be used as input for the SINAC environmental simulator. InterRAS can also estimate the radiological consequences in the environment. The Core-melt Risk Prediction program evaluates the probability of core damage in an accident situation.
The radiological experts are supported by the AMAR automatic radiation data acquisition and evaluation system, which collects and evaluates the measured data from the stations of the environmental radiological monitoring network. 80 radiological measuring units consist of the Hungarian monitoring system and the AMAR system collects and displays the data in the emergency centre.
The environmental simulator program SINAC and the RODOS system are also essential tools for the radiological experts in estimating the potential radiological consequences in an accidental situation. The SINAC uses the source term (i.e. relevant 16 isotopes) calculated by the Nuclear Group and the meteorological trajectories obtained from the Hungarian Meteorological Service.
The EU-developed Real-time On-line DecisiOn Support System for Nuclear Emergency Management is used by the radiological experts to give suggested protective actions in the early and later phases of an accident. The RODOS database contains all the important data about the land use, the composition of the population, and other useful geographical data. At the HAEA the RODOS software is used through an interactive terminal window, the RODOS main server is situated at the headquarters of the Directorate General for National Disaster Management.
Beyond the software tools a set of methodological procedures assists the experts in preparing analyses based on the available information. There are two main types of methodological procedures: one of them is meant to support the Nuclear Group in estimating and predicting the nuclear status and the source term (the released activity), the other supports the Radiological Group in estimating the radiological status and the expected environmental consequences. The use of the procedures is based on their simplicity, independence of computer and electric power and their ability to a quick response in spite of the limited information available. These documents take into account the different types of accidental scenarios and meteorological conditions and are of primary importance in determining the expected consequences at the very early phase of an emergency. Additionally, the procedures can be used to check the results calculated when the information supply comes to a more adequate state.
The design and operational data of nuclear installations in Europe are provided by the PRIS (Power Reactor Information Software) and the IRS (Incident Reporting System) and the NEA CD-rom is also available in the CERTA for the case of a nuclear emergency occurring in a foreign country.
As an example of the continuous development, the HAEA participates in development of a common European methodology for nuclear diagnosis and prognosis. The ASTRID software is a methodology and a computer tool that may be used by European countries to reliably predict or evaluate the source term in case of accident in a light water reactor in order to protect the environment and the population potentially exposed to radiation effects. The source term evaluated in this manner will be used to predict and/or assess the potential and/or real consequences in the environment in terms of doses and deposition that could be compared with intervention levels defined in emergency planning.
In case of an accident with radioactive release the source term consists of the following information:
- the composition of the released radioactive isotopes,
- the activity of the released radioactive isotopes,
- the starting time of the release,
- the duration of the release,
- the effective release height.
The source term must be isotope-specific for evaluating the environmental consequences. On the other hand condensing of the isotopes to isotope-groups facilitates interpretation of the results.
Communication equipment, energy supply
The centre is equipped with advanced computing and telecommunication tools and with all the equipment necessary for supporting the proper functioning of the HAEA Emergency Response Organization (HAEA ERO). In addition to the 22 workstations an Alpha server is utilized to ensure an on-line connection between the crisis centre and the station computers of the units of the Paks NPP.
The communication and recording tasks of the HAEA ERO have been solved under a Lotus Notes application developed specifically for this purpose. This system manages the incoming and outgoing fax and e-mail messages and records automatically the related information. Additionally the governmental emergency e-mail client, the so-called MARATHON system is available in the centre. As a contact point in the ECURIE arrangement also a CoDecS station is operated in the centre for communicating with the European Commission in case of an emergency. The fax modems use four phone lines (two incoming and two outgoing), additionally three normal fax devices are in standby mode for the case of a potential server failure. A voice recorder device records four dedicated phone lines of the centre. Videoconference is at the disposal of the crisis management team. Copies of the documents are made by a high performance copy-machine. Three network printers are installed in the CERTA. The room of the centre is air-conditioned, physical security is ensured by motion and smoke detectors, which alert the security guards of the building.
The staff of the HAEA ERO regularly takes part in exercises. Three types of exercises are organized: alerting exercise, when the operation capability of the staff is tested and the duties at the operation start are exercised; thematic exercises, where only one selected group - without the operation of the other groups - solves its emergency tasks based on a prepared accident scenario; full-scale exercises, where every member of the staff of the HAEA ERO is involved.
There are 3-5 alerting exercises annually, when - at a previously unannounced time (which may be after working hours or during a holiday or a day off ) the Inspector on Duty receives a message to alert the HAEA ERO. Sometimes the idea is solely to check the wakefulness and alertness of the members of the HAEA ERO, and they required to estimate how long it takes to arrive to the CERTA; the other kind of alerting exercise requires that they go to the centre.
In thematic exercises, previously selected experts are expected to carry out their tasks as described in the respective procedures.
In full-scope national exercises the HAEA ERO operates together with the Emergency Preparedness Organization of the Paks NPP and with the Governmental Co-ordination Committee.
In thematic and full-scale exercises the tasks and conditions are the same as in a real accident. The accident scenario originates from the full-scope simulator of Paks NPP, and the CERTA VITA system displays the simulated data in CERTA. During these exercises the HAEA ERO prepares all the prescribed reports.
Hungary has concluded bilateral agreements with the following countries to notify each other in the early phase of a nuclear or radiological emergency, as well as to support each other if necessary: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.