Activities - Nuclear Risk
Prevention activities play a major role to eliminate or reduce the possible damage related to nuclear risk.
The National Plan for the management of radiological and nuclear emergencies is an essential tool, identifying the measures to deal with consequences of accidents in nuclear plants outside the national territory for which a coordination of resources at national level is required.
The monitoring of radioactivity levels on a national and regional scale is also fundamental to ensure information to the population before and during emergencies and is carried out through a system of monitoring networks.
The participation to international exercises is also an important tool for the update of the Emergency Plan and intervention resources.
Italy disposes of national and regional networks able to monitor the radioactivity of the territory.
Early warning networks of radioactivity. The early warning networks of radioactivity include the Remrad network, consisting of five stations at selected locations to cover the most significant entry routes of radioactive cloud in the national territory, of possible radioactivity releases during an accident at a nuclear power plant across the national border, and the Gamma network, consisting of 61 detectors of gamma radioactivity in the air.
Both networks are managed by the National Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Inspectorate, with real-time and continuous connections to a control center responsible for the analysis of measurement results and the reporting of anomalous radioactivity conditions.
The Ministry of the Interior - National Fire Department's detection and alarm network and regional early warning networks are also part of this network.
Environmental radioactivity monitoring networks. The environmental radioactivity monitoring networks transmit the results to the competent European and international authorities. These networks are national, regional, and local. National and regional networks are focused on assessing the exposure of the general population. Local networks aim at the monitoring of a specific nuclear installation:
- National network for the surveillance of environmental radioactivity (Resorad): consisting of the laboratories of the regional agencies and autonomous provinces of environmental protection and the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institutes, technically coordinated by Isin, analyzes the main environmental and food matrices on the national territory.
- Regional and Autonomous Provincial networks: these networks exploit the data collected by the regional and autonomous provincial environmental protection agencies, which carry out analysis on the main environmental and food matrices. Most of the data flow into Resorad. They also carry out measurements on water for human consumption pursuant to Legislative Decree 28/2016 and can control imported products, around nuclear installations, scrap metal melting plants, or activities with the presence of radioactive materials of natural origin.
- Local networks: managed by the holder of the authorization, or clearance, and the operator of a nuclear installation; they provide for the permanent surveillance of the degree of radioactivity of the atmosphere, water, soil and food in the areas monitored and in the areas surrounding the installation and are under the supervision of the Isin.
Italy has a National Plan for the management of radiological and nuclear emergencies drawn up by the Working Group coordinated by the Department of Civil Protection, pursuant to art. 182 of Legislative Decree 101/2020. The Plan identifies and regulates the measures to cope with the consequences of accidents or incidents in nuclear facilities located outside the national borders, according to three different scenarios
- facilities within 200 kilometers of the national border;
- plants beyond 200 kilometers from the national border
- plants in non-European countries.
In strict correspondence with the messaging codified at the international level by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the operational phases foreseen by the Plan are three:
- Warning, following the notification of an alert or a facility emergency
- Pre-alarm, following the notification of a site area emergency
- Alarm, following notification of a general emergency
In relation to the three scenarios considered, the Plan defines the operational procedures for managing the flow of information between the actors involved, the activation and coordination of the components of the National Service of Civil Protection, and the organizational model for the management of the emergency, with the indication of the primary actions to take, at national level to mitigate the consequences of a nuclear event for the population and the environment.
The Plan provides different protective measures for the three different scenarios considered.
Scenario 1: Accident at a plant located 200 km from the national border. For this type of scenario, if the event that occurs is particularly severe and if weather conditions are unfavorable, direct protective measures (indoor sheltering and iodoprophylaxis, both to be applied in regions adjacent to the accident site) and indirect protective measures (food restriction and protection of agricultural and livestock assets) may be necessary.
Scenario 2: Incident at a European plant beyond 200 kilometers from the national border. If the event that occurs is particularly severe and if meteorological conditions are unfavourable, the scenario could lead to radioactive contamination over large areas of the national territory with consequent application of indirect protective measures: food restriction and protection of agricultural and livestock heritage (indoor sheltering of farm animals, feeding of animals with uncontaminated feed, freezing of milk, etc.). Conversely, direct protective measures such as indoor shelter and iodoprophylaxis are not required.
For scenarios 1 and 2, in addition to direct and indirect protective measures for the population that is on the national territory, are always necessary measures aimed at assisting Italians who are in the territory affected by the event, and surveillance measures for the possible importation of food and other contaminated products and measures to control personal contamination for those who return from areas at risk.
For both scenarios, the Plan foresees monitoring activities of environmental and food matrices over large areas of the national territory for extended periods of time.
Scenario 3: Incident at a non-European plant. For this type of scenario no direct or indirect protective measures are required for the population present on the national territory. Nevertheless, the following measures are required : assistance to compatriots, control of import of food and other contaminated products, control of personal contamination for those returning from risk areas.
The Legislative Decree n. 101 of 2020 indicates the contents of risk and emergency communication to the population (in the pre-alarm and alarm phases).
The pre-alarm communication must contain all the elements useful for the knowledge of the risk; the emergency communication shall convey to the population all the information necessary to reduce the exposure in case of accident.