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The Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) of The Cyprus Institute (CyI) have signed a collaboration agreement to estimate and predict contamination risks and associated impacts from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides accidentally released by a major industrial facility in the Middle East.
The QEERI-CARE-C collaboration aims to develop a methodology for environmental hazard risk and vulnerability assessment in the Middle East, in addition to test this methodology by estimating the risk to the population in Qatar, in case of a severe accident at a nuclear or industrial risk site.
The main objectives of the agreement are the establishment of preliminary radioactivity risk maps regarding atmospheric deposition of -- and the population’s exposure to -- radionuclides following potential nuclear accidents in the Middle East. Secondly, the risk assessment of atmospheric deposition and population exposure to radioactivity and other toxic substances following potential accidents at industrial facilities. The collaboration will also lead to the establishment of an early warning system for radioactive and other toxic spills in the atmosphere in the Middle-East region, using numerical forecasting tools.
Dr Huda Al Sulaiti, senior research director at QEERI’s Natural and Environmental Hazards Observatory (NEHO), said: “At NEHO, we aim to use our state-of-the-art facilities in characterisation, modelling and forecasting to establish early warning systems to assess natural hazards and support policy and decision-making processes. We look forward to working alongside Cyl to support efforts in reducing the risks of natural and environmental hazards.”
Prof Jean Sciare, director of the CARE-C, added: “Combining the systems we already have in place, such as CARE-C’s EMAC model and QEERI’s WRF-Chem model (Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry), helps us make more accurate assessments. We work in close collaboration with global partners to conduct pioneering research programs involving cutting-edge, high throughput technologies, in order to address problems of regional as well as international significance.”
Dr Marc Vermeersch, executive director, QEERI, said: “We believe partnerships such as the one we recently signed with Cyl resonates with our goal to be a catalyst for positive transformation in Qatar and the region while having a global impact. This partnership is crucial to leverage the expertise of both QEERI’s researchers as well as the specialists from Cyl to assess potential risks, and to provide robust and timely recommendations to minimise the risk for Qatar.”
NEHO, established by QEERI mid-2019, aims to assess, understand, observe and mitigate natural and environmental hazards in Qatar through research and technology developments to support governmental and community response and recovery actions.
CARE-C aims to address the risks associated with air pollution and climate change, with a special focus on the Eastern Mediterranean Middle East region, through a combination of research, innovation and education activities.
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11/03/2021
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