‘Big­gest fear is another dis­as­ter like Ch­er­nobyl’

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - @KimBie­len­berg

The threat of nu­clear fall-out is back in the news with the stand­off be­tween US President Don­ald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Since the Ch­er­nobyl dis­as­ter in 1986 and the end of the Cold War, the Govern­ment has con­cen­trated on the pos­si­ble fall-out of an ac­ci­dent at a nu­clear plant rather than a nu­clear at­tack.

Se­cu­rity an­a­lyst De­clan Power says an ac­ci­dent in Eastern Europe, sim­i­lar to the in­ci­dent at Ch­er­nobyl, is more likely than an in­ci­dent at one of the Bri­tish plants such as Sel­lafield.

If there was an in­ci­dent, the re­sponse would be led by the Depart­ment of Hous­ing in con­junc­tion with other agen­cies in­clud­ing the Of­fice of Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Pro­tec­tion.

The prin­ci­pal fear is that a nu­clear ac­ci­dent in the UK or Europe could re­lease a ra­dioac­tive plume into the at­mos­phere. De­pend­ing on the wind speed and di­rec­tion, it could even­tu­ally reach Ire­land.

Ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, due to Ire­land’s dis­tance from any nu­clear fa­cil­ity, it is un­likely that any­one in Ire­land would need to stay in­doors. How­ever, in a se­ri­ous case, the au­thor­i­ties could is­sue its warn­ing to the pub­lic to “go in, stay in, tune in”.

Go­ing in­doors to your home, work­place or another in­door lo­ca­tion could pro­tect you from ex­po­sure to ra­di­a­tion and re­duce your long-term cancer risk.

You should re­main in­doors un­til ad­vised by the au­thor­i­ties that the ra­dioac­tive plume has moved on. This may take a few hours, de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the ac­ci­dent, and the weather.

TV and ra­dio sta­tions — both state and com­mer­cial — will be kept fully briefed about the emer­gency. You will be kept up­dated with the lat­est news and ad­vice, and in­formed if any ac­tions such as re­main­ing in­doors are nec­es­sary. In­for­ma­tion will also be made avail­able on the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia.

In 2002, Ir­ish house­holds were is­sued with io­dine tablets for use in a nu­clear emer­gency. Sta­ble io­dine helps to coun­ter­act ra­dioac­tive io­dine, but be­cause of the chang­ing na­ture of more modern nu­clear plants, th­ese pills are now con­sid­ered un­nec­es­sary and re­dun­dant.

Suited and booted: An emer­gency nu­clear drill in the 1980s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.