Measures for radiation protection in case of accident with likelihood consequences to the population
During the operation of nuclear power plants (NPP) is likelihood, although with very small probability, to occur an accident with radiation consequences for the population. Potential risk of such an accident should be analysed and evaluated in advance in the design of the NPP, while considered all possible emergencies (realistic and hypothetical scenarios) and on that basis the necessary measures for prevention of the accidents and mitigation the consequences should be planned and implemented to an acceptable level according to the national legislation.
According to the Act on the Safe Use of nuclear Energy (ASUNE) legal entities and individuals who carry out activities on the use of nuclear energy and ionising radiation and the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, are required to take measures to prevent accidents and to limit and mitigate the consequences of them.
The Competent state authorities and licensees should identify and implement measures for emergency planning and emergency preparedness in case of accident with likelihood radiation consequences. These measures should be based on the analysis of possible scenarios for the origin and development of various accidents and assess the radiation risk to the population.
The emergency plan is a document, which sets out measures for maintenance of emergency preparedness, providing radiation protection, mitigates and liquidates the consequences of the accidents. Emergency plans should be developed and approved at national, regional and institutional level and for each site (NPP, enterprises with radioactive sources, facilities for radioactive waste management, etc.).
The ASUNE defines two types of emergency plans according to their scope:
- Off-site (national) emergency plan to protect the population in case of accidents with likelihood radiation consequences in the country;
- On-site emergency plans for the corresponding sites (developed in coordination with the off-site emergency plan).
The Regulation on Emergency Planning and Emergency Preparedness in Case of Nuclear and Radiation Accidents lay down: requirements for the development of emergency plans, measures for radiation protection and mitigation the consequences of an accident, responsibilities and obligations of the competent state authorities and licensees, maintain emergency preparedness and response.
Maintenance of the emergency preparedness for response in case of accidents with likelihood radiation consequences include:
- establish and maintain emergency teams at national level;
- maintain a system for notification and early warning to the population;
- assure funds for radiation protection and radiation monitoring, including forecasting of the radiation situation and the consequences of the accident;
- assure funds to carry out urgent and emergency rescue and recovery work;
- update periodically the emergency plans by the relevant institutions, local authorities and licensees;
- educate the individuals designated to perform actions according the emergency plans and conduct exercises and training for the implementation of the emergency plans;
- inform the public on important issues related to radiation protection and implementation of protection measures in case of accidents.
The main measures to protect the population in case of accident with likelihood radiation consequences include:
- timely notification of the population and submission of appropriate instructions;
- sheltering in appropriate places;
- restriction and controlling the access in places with increased radiation risk to the population;
- use of protection means to prevent inhalation of radioactive substances;
- conducting iodine prophylaxis;
- retreat to a safe distance from the affected site as a result of the accident, which includes evacuation, temporary or permanent relocation of the affected population;
- radiometric and dosimetric measurements for assessing the situation and taking the decision by the competent authorities;
- decontamination of premises, buildings and areas contaminated with radioactive substances;
- implementation of specific requirements to the radiation hygiene of the population;
- limitation the consumption of radioactively contaminated foodstuffs and feedingstuffs, including water and milk;
- implementation of additional measures for radiation protection of the population based on measurements, forecasts for the development of the accident and estimates of the likelihood consequences of it.
The measures for radiation protection of the population should be applied on the basis of criteria and principles defined in the regulation on Emergency Planning and Emergency Preparedness in Case of nuclear and Radiation Accident. The protection measures of the population should be implemented by the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES).
In case of accident with likelihood radiation consequences the MES through the General Directorate National Service Civil Protection should immediately inform the population through the national communication - notification system. The notification should be given in national and regional TV and radio stations, local radio - translations units, sirens, loudspeakers and other means provided in the off-site (national) emergency plan and emergency plans of the relevant institutions and facilities.
General instructions to the population related to radiation protection in case of an accident with likelihood radiation consequences
1. Pass the received information about the accident to your friends and family, if you think they do not know about the event. Explain to your children what had happened and what to do in occurred situations, taking into account their age. Perform the received initial instructions.
Turn on your TV receivers and / or radio to obtain further information on the official channels of the Bulgarian National TV and Bulgarian National Radio.
2. Fulfil strictly the given instructions regarding radiation protection measures, which should be implemented immediately or later after the accident.
Keep calm and don’t panic. Do not undertake irrational actions because the competent state authorities are able and will do everything necessary to ensure your protection.
3. Do not perform yourself iodine prophylaxis (ingestion of potassium iodide tablets) without instruction from the competent state authorities. Wilfully ingestion of iodine in any form can harm health, rather than help.
4. Seal hermetically according to the available resources and means the premises for sheltering in case of emergency. This will limit the penetration of radioactive substances into the premises trough the air, which is achieved by closing and tightening doors and windows in homes and public buildings, stopping the tributary ventilation in them, placing the filtering tissue ion the windows during airing, cleaning of the premises only with wed tissues (sweeping and beating should be avoided).
To protect the respiratory track from falling of radioactive substances in the human body can be used standard protection equipment (respirator, facial masks against dust, gasmask) and the available materials (gauze bandages, cheesecloth, handkerchiefs and other filtering materials that are wet for better holding of the dust particles contained in the air).
Temporary sheltering as a security precaution can last several days depending on the development of accident and the consequences thereof.
5. Upon notification of an accident with likelihood radiation consequences you should kept strictly the individual hygiene to restrict to a minimum the possibility of ingestion of radioactive substances and pollution of your body and clothing with radioactive substances. To do this:
- Reduced to a minimum stay outdoors, do not take trips, excursions, walks, picnics and trips to places that have been radioactively contaminated or are presumed that are contaminated by radioactive substances as a result of the accident;
- Stop bathing in the water basins and stop use of water supplies, which has been or are presumed to have been contaminated by radioactive substances as a result of the accident;
- Avoid activities related to the raising of dust in areas contaminated by radioactive substances as a result of the accident;
- Maintain cleanliness in yours homes, wash hands thoroughly, especially before eating. Bathers daily, clean shoes upon entering at your home, more often wash clothing that wear out;
- Do not consume foodstuffs, including water and milk, which has been declared a temporary ban. Wash thoroughly the foodstuffs before consumption and before culinary preparation, especially leaf vegetables and fruits. Store food in suitable packaging, in sealed vessels (containers) and premises, refrigerators;
- Fulfil strictly the recommendations of the competent state authorities for the consumption of foodstuffs until the final liquidation of the consequences of an accident.
6. Evacuation as a protection measure for the population is a short-term change of residence for up to 7 days depending on the development of accident and the consequences thereof. The selection of a suitable place where the population affected by the accident can be evacuated depends on the specific radiation and meteorological conditions during the event. Routes and transport means for evacuation, the places for accommodation of the individuals and the order for evacuation should be defined by the competent state authorities. The security of the private house the evacuated population should be provided by the competent state authorities.
Do not perform wilfully and unorganised evacuation without explicit instructions from the competent state authorities. Wilfully and unorganised resignation of the affected by the accident residence place is hazardous action if you travel trough the inappropriate route to the safety place in terms of radiation protection.
After announcing the decision of the competent state authorities for implementation of evacuation you should do the following:
- Take with you the identification documents and other important documents at your own opinion, available money, valuables, clothing and object of common use, available medicines, food for one-two days, drinking water, cell phone (if you have one). Wrap all them in polyethylene bags, backpacks, bags or suitcases;
- Turn off all electric household appliances (stoves, ovens, boilers, air conditioners, lamps, etc.), disconnect power from the power-fuses, turn off all water taps, turn off gas appliances and installations, extinguished t stoves and fireplaces, close doors and windows, take hand luggage and lock the doors of your home;
- Do not take your pets, large volume and heavy objects;
- Move promptly to the announced evacuation meeting point (using private transport or walking) from where you will be transported by destination according to the instructions of the competent state authorities.
- For evacuation of sick, disabled, children and adults for which you need help, ask for assistance from the competent state authorities at local level (Regional Directorate Civil Protection, on duty staff in mayoralties and hospitals in the respective localities).
7. Temporary relocation as a protection measure for the population is a long-term change of residence for up to 30 days depending on the development of the accident and the consequences thereof. Temporary relocation is organized by the competent state authorities only in the case that other protection measures (sheltering, iodine prophylaxis, evacuation) are not sufficient to ensure radiation protection of the affected by the accident population in the relevant place.
8. Permanent resettlement as a protection measure for the population is leaving the residence forever. This protection measure should be organised by the competent authorities only as a last resort when all other protective measures (sheltering, iodine prophylaxis, evacuation, temporary relocation) are not sufficient to ensure radiation protection of the population affected by the accident in the appropriate place.
Dose criteria for taking the decision by the competent state authorities for implementation of the evacuation, temporary relocation or permanent resettlement are defined in the Regulation on Emergency Planning and Emergency Preparedness in Case of Nuclear and Radiation accident.