Lithuania Improves the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents

Date

2018 10 10

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The National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents focused on nuclear incidents possibly happening at the Astravets in Belarus has been recently improved by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania (MoI) and the Fire and Rescue Department under the MoI. The upgraded edition of the Plan will be submitted for the consideration to the Lithuanian Government on Wednesday. 

The Plan was updated taking into account new possible threats that might be caused by nuclear and (or) radiological incidents at the Astravets nuclear power plant.

“Lithuania makes every effort and is committed to make it in the future in order to stop launching of this unsafe object in accordance with both national and international legislation. On the other hand, we have to see this situation clearly and behave accordingly. This means we have to foresee all the possible scenarios and be prepared for them” says Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania Mr. Eimutis Misiūnas.

Taking in account all the territorial peculiarities and the distance to the site of construction of Astravets nuclear power plant, the Plan includes specific actions for services, as well as the list of responsible officers in case of nuclear incident. Moreover, measures to be taken, for example, population protection, dissemination of information, evacuation, iodine prophylaxis, restriction of food, drinking water and non-food products contaminated with radionuclides, are listed.

Two protection zones have been classified – a 30 km long active protection zone for the evacuation of population and a 100 km long preventive protection zone.

“One of the key points of the Plan is the continuous monitoring of radiation environment and up-to-date public information sharing. It is very important that the residents of Lithuania would not be affected by various provocations and possible fake news or other panic causing attempts. Only official information channels must be trusted. Those are national television and radio, cell broadcast messages, websites of official national authorities”, explains Minister of the Interior Mr. Misiūnas.

The Minister of the Interior points out that residents often misinterpret possible threats and worries without any reason.

“I do understand the concerns that some people might have, but I am also confident that these should be reasonable. This type of power plant is unsafe, though the rate of potential accident is predictable and the coordinated actions of 24 authorities involved would minimize potential damage”, says Mr. Misiūnas.

According to the Minister of the Interior, major information campaign to raise public awareness will be organized in order to get population prepared to any potential challenges. The civil safety web www.LT72.lt will be updated accordingly.

“We are starting discussions on elaboration of possible best practice for those residents living in the 30 km protection zone. Obviously, this may cause some inconvenience, therefore we will coordinate such a possibility with the local authorities and residents”, notes Mr. Misiūnas.

Immediate safeguard actions, such as the purchase of necessary iodine preparations and iodine prophylaxis, will require about 900 000 euros. The modernization and development of early warning system for residents (100 km radius from the Belarusian NPP) will demand about 9.5 million euros. Part of the finances will be allocated from the EU funds.