Prevention plays a major role to eliminate or reduce the possible damage related to nuclear risk.
The plan of the protective measures against radiological emergencies of 1 March 2010 - which reviewed the 1996 version - is an important tool. The Plan identifies measures to deal with the consequences of accidents in nuclear plants outside the national territory, and it requires a coordination of resources at national level. The Plan was prepared by the Department of Civil Protection in collaboration with Ispra - Institute for the Protection and Environmental Research.
The radioactivity monitoring at national and regional level, is essential also to ensure prior information and emergency to the population, is carried out through a system of monitoring networks.
Also the participation in international exercises is an important tool for the prevention and verification, for an update of the emergency plan and intervention resources.
Italy, as a member state of the European Union, adheres to the protocol for exchanging information radiometric EURDEP - European Union Radiological Data Exchange Platform and is connected to the system for the rapid exchange of information ECURIE - European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange. The Italian commitment in the framework of international agreements resulting instead in adherence to international conventions of the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency, as a signatory of the Convention on Early Notification and on Assistance in the case of nuclear emergencies.
In Italy the legislation on ionizing radiation derives substantially from the transposition of EU directives in the sector. The basic text is represented in the Legislative Decree n. 230 of 17 March 1995. In particular Chapter X, on the measure is devoted to emergency planning and information to the population. The decree introduces, in accordance with the general regulations on emergency planning, both the National Plan of radiological emergencies both emergency plans related to scenarios local or provincial.
The National Plan of the protective measures against radiological emergencies identifies and regulates the necessary measures to deal with accidents that occur in nuclear plants outside the national territory, such as requiring response actions coordinated at national level. The Plan defines the operational procedures to manage the flow of information between the various parties involved, the activation and coordination of the components of the National Service and the organizational model for emergency management.
The reference scenario of the Plan does not cover the entire range of accidents related to the use or transport of radioactive or fissile fuel in the Italian territory. Each type of radiological risk should correspond, prior to the planning phase, to a technical and scientific evaluation of the reference scenarios, to the environmental and health impact, to the necessary means for the detection of radioactivity and to the area affected by the accident .
The document shows the actions state and local authorities should take in order to limit the effects of the spread of a possible radioactive cloud, and procedures for the activation and coordination of the main components of the National Service of Civil Protection. The plan indicates the procedures for the exchange of information between authorities, and their dissemination to the population that may be involved by accident.
Each type of accidental event should be analyzed and studied in a separate document of Technical Requirements, as a basis for planning. The diagram below gives a brief summary of the structure of responsibility valid at the time in Italy, as regards the emergency planning in the field of ionizing radiation.
In addition to the statutory procedures ofthe Plan, Italian authorities have at their disposal a number of tools for technical-scientific monitoring of disasters. Since the eighties, Italy has adopted a system of surveillance networks for monitoring of radioactivity which includes national and regional networks. National networks - coordinated by ISPRA, Institute for the Protection and Environmental Research - are the RESORAD network for environmental radioactivity monitoring and Remrad and Gamma, alert networks, which are complementary.
They are supported by the network of the National Fire Department. Born during the period of the Cold War, has been completely revised and restructured in the nineties, making it suitable for monitoring of radiometric of greater detail.
In case of emergency, radiometric measurements are intensified, carried out periodically by the laboratories of Arpa, regional agencies for environmental protection. The data collected from monitoring networks, together with weather forecasts and other information supplied by specific databases, flow into the calculation system Aries, developed by ISPRA, which processes forecasts and diffusion models of a possible radioactive cloud on European scale.
For proper emergency management it is essential to inform people in advance about the possible risks, on emergency plans, instructions to be followed in case of accident and emergency measures.
Public information is carried out in two phases:
• prevention: awareness on the important aspects of planning and protective actions required in case of nuclear emergency
• emergency: timely information to the population affected, or potentially affected by an event, how they should behave to reduce exposure to ionizing radiation.
The regular participation in international drills organized by the European Union, the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency, the NEA - Nuclear Energy Agency and other international organizations, and the establishment of appropriate national exercises, allow a periodic review of the whole system support for emergency management and a progressive refinement of the security measures provided by the national plan.