RTE's docudrama scenario could not happen according to RPII

Date released: Apr 23 2006

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) has said that the scenario as depicted in tonight's RTE drama, Fallout, could not happen. The RPII, who viewed the drama on Wednesday 19th April, has analysed the scenario as depicted and has concluded that it is not possible for such an accident to occur in Sellafield.

Commenting on the accident as portrayed in the programme, Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of the RPII said "The Institute has long been concerned at the possibility of an accident at Sellafield involving the Highly Active Storage Tanks (HASTs) and has conducted extensive studies to predict how such an accident could affect Ireland The scenario envisaged in the programme is not realistic and exaggerates the amount of radioactivity that could reach Ireland"

In particular' the RPII is concerned that the programme appears to suggest that evacuation would be the appropriate response to an accident at Sellafield. Dr McGarry explained that "International best practice indicates that evacuation is only ever recommended to prevent people suffering immediate health effects. In Ireland due to our distance from any nuclear facilities and the type of accident that could possibly occu,, radiation levels arising from an accident would never be sufficiently high to give rise to these effects."

As part of the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents, the RPII continuously monitors the effect of discharges from the Sellafield plant on the Irish environment. It has systems in place to provide an immediate alert of any increase in radiation levels and to rapidly assess the consequences for the Irish population. This information is used to determine the most appropriate and effective measures to be taken to minimise the exposure of the population.


Note for Editor:

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland is the national organisation with regulatory, monitoring and advisory responsibilities in matters relating to ionising radiation. In particular the Institute is concerned with the protection of the population from the hazards associated with ionising radiation and with radioactive contamination in the environment. Further information on the RPII can be found on www.rpii.ie. Information regarding the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents can be found on the RPII website or on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.