Countries unite to respond to another Chernobyl disaster

May 8, 2013
Countries unite to respond to another Chernobyl disaster
Credit: Shutterstock

Radioactivity as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the 1980s is still present in the environment. But 17 national emergency management organisations and 33 research institutes have come together to prevent or minimise the impact of such a thing happening again. Their objective has been to ensure that Europe can respond better to similar emergencies in the future.

Over a five-year period, the EURANOS ('European Approach to Nuclear and Radiological and Rehabilitation Strategies') utilised and technology in preparing Europe's response in the event of a radiation emergency, and developing long-term plans for rehabilitation. This was supported with funding of EUR 14.7 million, of which nearly EUR 7 million came from the European Commission.

The project was seen as vital because of the varying levels to which individual countries were equipped to respond to radiation emergencies. Such an incident could occur in a country as a result of an accident or of a deliberate terrorist attack. This could then have a knock-on effect from one country to another. But by sharing expertise, data and technology between Member States, Europe can place itself at a better position to respond more effectively to a radiation emergency.

Some of the measures the project devised included a compendia containing a wealth of state-of-the-art information for emergency management. The project also further improved 'Decision Support Systems' (DSS) aimed at providing support to the national emergency management teams (EMT) in collecting on-line and real-time measurements. This involved analysing the current radiological situation, estimating its future development, and ranking the countermeasures.

In addition the project sought ways to develop the long-term management and rehabilitation of potentially contaminated areas. As well as conducting training courses on strategies and guidance for the sustainable rehabilitation of living conditions in long-term contaminated territories.

Leading the project was Wolfgang Raskob, a Meteorologist from the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Germany. He says, 'The success of the project lies in the communication that has now been developed between the Member States. Although EURANOS has ended, we have taken what we have learnt from this project and transferred it further into the NERIS Platform. Wolfgang Raskob explains further, 'This will be a contact point for all related industry, research and governmental organisations for improving Europe's response rate in an emergency and in the longer-term. It must be also stressed that local stakeholders are an important part of the decision making process within the various countries, and this platform will deepen this aspect further in our research projects. We now have 49 partners involved.'

But he stresses, this platform also has another dimension, with the start of a European research project called PREPARE, this stands for 'Innovative integrative tools and platforms to be prepared for radiological emergencies and post-accident response in Europe'. This project aims to close gaps in emergency management and rehabilitation, following the Fukushima accident. In this way, the EURANOS movement continues in a sustainable Platform and in research on a European level, which is needed to be better prepared for the future.'

Explore further: Boosting the capabilities of emergency relief efforts

More information: EURANOS

Related Stories

Boosting the capabilities of emergency relief efforts

October 7, 2008

Humanitarian relief efforts are often hampered by the inability of the different international and local bodies involved to properly communicate and share information. European researchers have come up with a new system to ...

GMES for Europe

October 12, 2012

The potential of GMES for crisis management and environmental monitoring is highlighted in a new publication with users demonstrating the importance of Earth observation data to European regions.

Recommended for you

US Navy keeps electromagnetic cannon in its sights

June 25, 2016

The US Navy is quietly pushing ahead with a radical new cannon that one day could transform how wars are fought, even though some Pentagon officials have voiced concerns over its cost and viability.

Flower power—photovoltaic cells replicate rose petals

June 24, 2016

With a surface resembling that of plants, solar cells improve light-harvesting and thus generate more power. Scientists of KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) reproduced the epidermal cells of rose petals that have particularly ...

Video privacy software lets you select what others can see

June 28, 2016

Camera-equipped smartphones, laptops and other devices make it possible to share ideas and images with anyone, anywhere, often in real-time. But in our cameras-everywhere culture, the risk of accidentally leaking sensitive ...

Computer model demonstrates how human spleen filters blood

June 27, 2016

Researchers, led by Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh and MIT Principal Research Scientist Ming Dao, have created a new computer model that shows how tiny slits in the spleen prevent old, diseased or misshapen ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.