Description of the nuclear risk

Radiological risk is the risk corresponding to accidental or undue exposure or artificial radioactivity. If fissile materials are involved in the exposure - particularly uranium and plutonium – we can also talk about nuclear risk.

Radiation is usually classified according to the effects that produces interacting with matter: it is therefore referred to as ionizing radiation or non-ionizing radiation. This includes phenomena such as ultraviolet light, radiant heat and microwaves.

Ionizing radiation includes:

• phenomena of natural radioactivity is not related to human activities, such as cosmic rays and radiation from radioactive materials contained in the soil;
• the phenomena of artificial radioactivity caused by human activity, such as X-ray sources for medical uses.

The section is devoted exclusively to ionizing radiation, especially with regard to artificial radioactivity, and the management of risks related to population exposure to this form of radiation.

Sources of radiological and nuclear risk in Italy

Possible sources of radiological and nuclear risk in Italy are associated with the use of artificial radioactive matter. The most significant uses of radioactivity in our country in connection with:

• Medical applications for therapy (radioactive sources of major intensity and long average lifespan);
• Medical applications for diagnostics (radioactive sources of low intensity and long average lifespan);
• Industrial applications (radioactive sources of medium intensity and long average lifespan);
• Scientific research (zero power nuclear plants, particle accelerators, calibration sources);
• Transport on Italian territory of radioactive materials for the listed applications;
• The docking of naval nuclear propulsion vessels in certain, specially equipped ports;
• Production of electrical energy (suspended following a decision made by the Government and Parliament);
• Radioactive waste from the previous applications.


Nuclear plants in Italy and near the border

In Italy, the four nuclear plants for the production of electrical energy have been closed and defueled. This decision was made based on a decommissioning decision taken by the governmental authority, and ratified in parliament with the approval of an Energy plan that does not involve the use of nuclear energy. The sites are currently being decommissioned, and in the future they will be completely dismantled and the land will be restored for civil uses.