Brunei Darussalam has successfully hosted the 8th Annual Meeting of the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) which was held from 5 to 9 July 2021, chaired by the Radiation Department at the Safety, Health, and Environment National Authority (SHENA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy. The 5-day virtual meeting was attended by 195 participants from ASEAN member states, dialogue partners from the European Commission (EC) and Republic of Korea, and international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In keeping with the theme of the Brunei Darussalam Chairmanship, "We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper," one of the deliverables this year in fostering a greater sense of ASEANTOM identity and belonging is the ASEAN SHIELD initiative, which aims to strengthen regional response to emergencies and disasters through cross-sector coordination. As a way forward, the ASEAN Protocol for Emergency Response Preparedness to a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency was endorsed by ASEAN Member States in this meeting. Initially raised in the 5th ASEANTOM Meeting held in Singapore in 2018, it is envisaged to be the first global model of a regional emergency protocol. The ASEANTOM Meeting also discussed ideas and plans to implement the ASEAN-IAEA Practical Arrangements between ASEAN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the areas of nuclear science and technology and application as well as nuclear safety, security and safeguards whereby ASEANTOM is the lead sectoral body in this important area.
Another key outcome achieved is the establishment of dedicated Technical Working Groups (TWGs) under ASEANTOM, in the areas of Radiation Monitoring, Radiation and Nuclear Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Hazard Modelling and Assessment and Public Emergency Communication. These TWGs aim to develop a structured approach for regional capacity-building in managing nuclear incidents and response to radiological emergencies. In addition, Brunei Darussalam has committed to contribute expertise in various projects introduced by the ASEAN Member States such as the tracking of mobile radioactive sources and looks forward to participate in new regional projects that are due for consideration by dialogue partners such as the EU.
Brunei Darussalam successfully concluded the meeting with a virtual handing over ceremony of the ASEANTOM Chairmanship to the Kingdom of Cambodia that will start on 1st January 2022.