Nuclear situation still extremely serious in Japan

Date released: Mar 17 2011

Distance from Japan means there are no immediate implications for Ireland.

The evolving situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan remains extremely serious, according to radiation experts at the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII). 

The Institute has today reiterated that any radioactive material released in Japan was extremely unlikely to reach Ireland. 

Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive at the RPII said, “Events in Japan continue to challenge authorities and the situation remains extremely serious.  We are keeping a watching brief on developments.  However, we can report that it is highly unlikely, due to the distance involved, that radioactive material released into the environment in Japan will reach Ireland.”    

ENDS

For further information: 

Murray Consultants                01   498 0346 

Aoibheann O’Sullivan               087 629 14 53   

Notes to editors:  

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) 

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is the national organisation with regulatory, monitoring and advisory responsibilities in matters relating to ionising radiation. In particular, the RPII concerns itself with hazards to health associated with ionising radiation and with radioactive contamination in the environment. The RPII is an independent public body under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and was established in 1992 under the Radiological Protection Act, 1991.  The RPII’s role is to ensure that Irish people and the environment are adequately protected from the harmful effects of ionising radiation. We do this by providing advice to the public and the Government, by monitoring people’s exposure to radiation, by regulating and licensing those who use radiation, by providing technical support to Ireland’s plan to deal with radiation emergencies (NEPNA) and by cooperating with similar bodies internationally.

RPII’s Monitoring Network 

The RPII with support from Met Éireann, local authorities and the Defence Forces operates a national network of permanent radiation-monitoring stations which are operational around the clock.  These stations include air samplers and gamma dose rate monitors. Data from the gamma monitors is continuously fed back to a central computer at RPII and displayed here.

This network would provide the first measurements in the event of a radioactive 'cloud' reaching Ireland. If elevated radiation levels are detected, an alarm system is automatically triggered.   

IAEA 

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna keeps national authorities informed of nuclear incidents and emergencies under the Emergency Notification Convention. For further information visit http://www.iaea.org/

Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing up to date advice for citizens in Japan.  This can be accessed at http://www.dfa.ie.

NEPNA 

Although Ireland has neither nuclear weapons, nor a nuclear power industry we have a detailed National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents, known as NEPNA.  The central goal of the plan is to substantially reduce public exposure to any radioactive contamination which might reach Ireland from a nuclear accident abroad. This in turn would minimise the potential long term health risks to the population. 

The national emergency plan is coordinated by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and involves a number of other government departments and agencies working together. 

More information on NEPNA is available on: http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/EnvironmentalRadiation/NationalEmergencyPlan/

National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents (NEP)