Security & Safety

IAEA / Team Supports Emergency Response Following Beirut Explosion

By David Dalton
18 September 2020

Team Supports Emergency Response Following Beirut Explosion
An International Atomic Energy Agency team has been in Beirut this week to support emergency response efforts in the Lebanese capital following last month’s explosion in its port area.

Lebanese authorities have reported to the IAEA that they did not detect any elevated radiation levels after the blast on 4 August, but asked the agency to confirm their measurements and to give advice on nuclear safety and security matters.

Earlier, the IAEA acted to help Lebanon in other ways, including in the areas of health, as many hospitals were damaged in the explosion.

During the week-long mission, which started on 14 September, the IAEA team will measure radiation levels at a number of locations in Beirut. They will also assess the impact of the explosion on the safety and security of radioactive material and sources in hospitals, scrapyards and the port. The IAEA will donate handheld radiation detection equipment to the authorities and training will also be carried out.

Additionally, samples of food, seawater, soil and building material collected by Lebanese authorities will be analysed in laboratories in France and Switzerland.

The cause of the disaster was the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored unsafely in a warehouse at the capital's port for six years.

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