Nordics publish joint emergency protection measures

10 March 2014

Nordic countries have agreed upon joint protection guidelines for nuclear and radiological emergencies.

The Nordic radiation and nuclear safety authorities have now published joint, generic guidelines for protective measures concerning population and functions of society in case of nuclear or radiological emergencies. The guidelines are agreed by authorities in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The guidelines form a unique document that includes practical criteria for early protective measures during the early phase of the accident as well as for actions after contamination. The document breaks incidents down into the intermediate phase (when radiation level is no longer increasing), and the recovery phase.

The protective measures may include sheltering indoors, taking stable iodine tablets to protect thyroid, evacuation, protection of production and commodities, decontamination of inhabited areas, and management of waste that contains radioactive material.

It recommends sheltering indoors if the dose rate is 100 µSv/hr or greater, or if alpha-emitters (americium-241) are 1 Bq/m3 or more, beta-emitter (strontium-90) are 1000 Bq/m3 or more, and gamma-emitters (caesium-137) are 10,000 Bq/m3 or more. It recommends partial sheltering indoors (minimizing time outdoors, particularly for children) when the external dose rate is 10 µSv/hr or greater.

"Generally speaking the document recommends a maximum dose for workers of 100 mSv; in exceptional situations that limit can be raised to 500 mSv"

It also said, "As prolonged sheltering rapidly cause other than radiological detriments, the total duration of sheltering indoors should generally not exceed two days. After two days the lifting or partial lifting of sheltering indoors should be considered and if the radiation level is still too high for sheltering indoors to be lifted, the public should be evacuated."
Generally speaking the document recommends a maximum dose for workers of 100 mSv; in exceptional situations that limit can be raised to 500 mSv.

The Nordic guidelines are based on the Finnish guides for nuclear and radiological emergencies and further developed through close Nordic cooperation. They take into account both domestic emergencies and emergencies in more distant locations, and they cover both accidents and intentional acts. The guidelines form a practical implementation of the new international radiation protection concept established for emergencies.

Crisis communications are not included.

The document, available in English, can be downloaded via the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).


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