Emergency planning zones and distances

Commissioned by the Government of Sweden, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has consulted with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), relevant county administrative boards and other competent authorities and stakeholders to carry out a review of emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances applying to activities involving ionising radiation. This Government assignment was reported to the Ministry of the Environment and Energy on 1 November 2017.

Emergency planning zones and distances are areas in which protective actions are prepared. These preparations give capacity for implementation of effective protective measures for the general public in connection with an emergency. During an emergency situation, prepared protective actions may be implemented in full, in part, or not at all, depending on the event and the actions' feasibility.

The Government assignment

On 22 October 2015, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority was assigned by the Swedish Government to look into and investigate:

  • Emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances needed in the future
  • Recommended criteria by geographical area and for pre-planned measures for the respective emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances
  • Proposed requisite amendments to legislation
  • Potentially increased costs for central or local government, or for businesses or individuals
  • Financing in the event of cost increases on the part of the Swedish state
  • Other socioeconomic impacts

Rationale behind the review

  • The legislation regulating emergency planning zones and distances is partly obsolete and incomplete. For example, urgent protective action emergency planning zones in Sweden are defined by telephone exchange areas originally used for indoor warnings communicated by telephone; however, these areas are obsolete.
  • The present emergency planning zones and distances are not designed in accordance with the requirements imposed by the radiation safety directive of the EU or recommendations from the ICRP or IAEA.
  • Lessons learned from the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima Daiichi regarding the design of emergency planning zones and distances are not taken into account by today's zones and distances in Sweden.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority's proposals to the Government of Sweden

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM, reported on the assignment to the Ministry of the Environment and Energy on 1 November 2017. A decision by the Government is required to make SSM's proposed new emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances surrounding nuclear power plants a reality. These proposals are presented below.

The nuclear power plants at Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals

It is proposed by the Authority to have the nuclear power plants at Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals surrounded by a precautionary action zone, or 'PAZ', extending approximately five kilometres, in addition to an urgent protective action emergency planning zone, or 'UPZ', extending approximately 25 kilometres. The emergency planning zones are to have planning in place for evacuation, sheltering, i.e. staying indoors, and iodine thyroid blocking. Information and iodine tablets should be distributed in advance and warnings to the general public should be prepared. Planning for evacuation of the population is to enable prioritisation of evacuation of the PAZ ahead of evacuation of the UPZ.

It is also proposed by SSM to have nuclear power plants in Sweden surrounded by an extended planning distance (EPD) of 100 kilometres. Within the EPD, planning should be in place for evacuation. This is to be based on input from measurements of ground deposition, planning for sheltering, and planning for limited distribution of iodine thyroid blocking agents, called 'ITBs'.

Fuel fabrication plant in Västerås

It is proposed by SSM to have a fuel fabrication plant in Västerås surrounded by a UPZ extending approximately 700 metres. The UPZ is to have planning in place for sheltering. Outside the site of the fuel fabrication plant, SSM has assessed that no ground deposition can occur in connection with emergencies that justify an EPD.

Clab, a central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel

It is proposed by SSM to have Clab, located at Oskarshamn, surrounded by an EPD of two kilometres. Within the EPD, planning must be in place for evacuation; this is to be based on input from measurements of ground deposition. Outside the site of the Clab facility, it has been assessed by SSM that no radiation doses can occur in connection with emergencies that justify an emergency planning zone. For this reason, the present emergency planning zone should be discontinued.

Nuclear activities in the Studsvik area

In SSM's review of emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances, the Authority has assessed that there is no longer a need for such zones or distances surrounding the nuclear activities taking place in the Studsvik area, located near Nyköping, and that the present emergency planning zone should be discontinued.

ESS

SSM has, as part of its step-wise licensing review of European Spallation Source ERIC (ESS) in Lund, assessed that emergency planning for the general public is required outside the site of this facility. However, the ESS research facility is not discussed in this report. At the time of carrying out this assignment, there was a lack of sufficient input, thus preventing a standpoint from being taken relating to emergency planning zones or distances surrounding this facility.

Areas needing further investigation

During the work to produce proposals for new emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances, SSM consulted with MSB and relevant county administrative boards. Here, three areas were identified as needing further investigation. These areas are the following:

  • Systems for warning the general public in the proximity of nuclear power plants
  • Mandates for management and distribution of ITBs
  • Emergency classes currently applied by nuclear facilities in Sweden

Consultation during this assignment

SSM, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, carried out this assignment in consultation with MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency), the county administrative boards of Uppsala, Kalmar, Halland, Västmanland, Södermanland and Skåne, Lund Municipality, and Räddningstjänsten Syd (fire and rescue services for the southern municipalities of Burlöv, Eslöv, Kävlinge, Lund, and Malmö).

Report outline

The main report, "Review of emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances in Sweden", provides a complete account of the Government assignment. The main report also contains five appendices. The first two appendices provide information on calculation parameters, dispersion and dose calculations, and methods for detailed analyses of data. The third, fourth and fifth appendices provide a detailed account of analyses performed on the part of the nuclear power plants, fuel fabrication plant in Västerås, and Clab. Moreover, these appendices provide an account of all calculation outcomes used for these analyses.