Radiological and nuclear incidents/accidents
According to the applicable legislative framework for its operation and "Xenokratis" General Plan for Civil Protection, EEAE is the competent body to respond to emergencies involving a radioactive material. Such cases are:
• radioactive contamination, as a result of a nuclear or radiological accident;
• radioactive contamination, as a result of an illicit or terrorist act;
• radioactive sources out of control.
EEAE participates in the national plan for dealing with emergencies and is responsible for:
• the preparation for dealing with emergencies;
• the nuclear and radiological safety;
• the assessment of risks as a result of radiological contamination;
• performing controls all over Greece in cooperation with regional laboratories;
• dealing with radiological accidents and radiological risks, by implementing Annex R, "Xenokratis" General Plan;
• the protection of Greece against radiological threats.
Several measures are taken for the prevention of radiological risks:
• the physical protection of the significant radiological installations in Greece was boosted
• the access gates to Greece (airports, ports, borders) have been equipped with modern radiation detectors
• the public security bodies have been trained to use and provided with detection equipment for radioactive materials and spectroscopic systems.
For effectively confronting emergencies from radiological accidents or CBRN (chemical, biological, radio-nuclear) threats, EEAE implements the Internal Emergency Response Plan, which provides for:
• special intervention and support groups consisting of experts;
• specialized logistics (movable laboratory, transport vehicle for sources, detectors, protective equipment, communication systems, computational dispersion codes, library, etc.);
• connection to international networks and databases;
• support provided by EEAE specialized laboratories and the personnel thereof, as well as by a network of laboratories cooperating with EEAE;
• ongoing communication and connection with national, European and international organizations (early warning systems for the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency).
Learn about specific radiological/nuclear incidents
In Greece, just like in all modern societies, the use of radiation in medicine for diagnosis and treatment purposes, in the field of industry and in the scientific research is broad and constantly increasing. Although Greece has not encountered any radiological accidents/incidents with an impact to the public and the environment, occasionally, some radiological accidents/incidents are reported in areas where radiation and radioactive sources are used. EEAE is responsible for the management of such incidents.
EEAE targets to the ongoing optimization of the radiation protection system used for the avoidance of radiological incidents. However, the enhancement of safety culture is a parameter which calls for constant efforts to be made by all the parties involved in the radiation protection system. Aiming at the awareness of stakeholders and the personnel making use of radiation, we have systemized the dissemination of the conclusions and the lessons resulting from radiological incidents/accidents, by posting them on EEAE website (available only in Greek language). By such means, we achieve:
• reporting of related experiences (lessons learned)
• the identification of practices to be avoided, but lessons as well
• the presentation of how to deal with radiological incidents/accidents
• the encouragement for exchange of views.
Chances to face a nuclear incident are very low, given that in Greece there are no operating nuclear power stations. However, radioactive contamination may be caused from an accident at a nuclear station of another country, but also as a result of an illicit or terrorist action entailing the use of radioactive material.
At national level, Greece has established a related legislative framework and a response mechanism aiming both at the public and environmental protection and at combating illicit trafficking of radioactive materials.
At international level, there are agreements, conventions and contact networks among the countries which ensure immediate warning in case of a nuclear accident. INES NEWS system is such a tool developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which provides information on nuclear or radiological incidents through the internet. Its goal is to directly and timely inform the public, covering all important incidents in nuclear power stations, nuclear fuel production units, as well as in any case of radioactive sources or trafficking in nuclear materials.