Swedish Radiation Safety Authority proposes new emergency planning zones and distances surrounding nuclear power plants

A Precautionary Action Zone (PAZ) extending approximately five kilometres, an Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) extending around 25 kilometres, and a supplementary Extended Planning Distance (EPD) of 100 kilometres surrounding Swedish nuclear power plants: these areas were proposed on 1 November by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in a report covering a review assignment on emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances in Sweden. This report has been forwarded to the Swedish Government.

On 22 October 2015, the Swedish Government commissioned the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) to, in consultation with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), relevant county administrative boards and other competent authorities and stakeholders, perform a review of emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances applying to activities involving ionising radiation.

Following ongoing work over a two-year period, this report was presented to the Government of Sweden on 1 November 2017. It is proposed by SSM that nuclear power plants should be surrounded by a precautionary action zone, or 'PAZ', extending approximately five kilometres, and an urgent protective action emergency planning zone, or 'UPZ', extending approximately 25 kilometres, plus an 'EPD', or extended planning distance, of 100 kilometres.

"The emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances are to have planning in place for evacuation, sheltering, and iodine thyroid blocking," says Jan Johansson, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority senior specialist in the field of radiation protection. "An additional aspect is that information and iodine tablets should be distributed in advance and warnings to the general public should be prepared. Planning for evacuation of the general public is to enable prioritisation of evacuation of the precautionary action zone, or PAZ, ahead of evacuation of the urgent protective action emergency planning zone, or UPZ."

Within the EPD (extended planning distance), planning should be in place for evacuation; this is to be based on input from measurements of ground deposition. Moreover, plans should be in place for sheltering, i.e. staying indoors, and limited distribution of iodine thyroid blocking within the EPD.

Other facilities

It is proposed by the Authority to have a fuel fabrication plant located in Västerås retain its present emergency planning zone, though with small adjustments. The Authority has two other proposals: having the Clab facility at Oskarshamn surrounded by an extended planning distance of two kilometres, and discontinuing the emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances applying to the Studsvik area, near Nyköping.

"SSM has, as part of our 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. In this report, we provide no suggestions regarding emergency planning zones or emergency planning distances surrounding the planned facility, as there is currently a lack of sufficient information. This prevents a standpoint from being taken relating to emergency planning zones or distances surrounding the ESS facility," says Mr Johansson.

Implementing the proposals of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority regarding new emergency planning zones and emergency planning distances surrounding Swedish nuclear power plants presupposes amendments to the Civil Protection Ordinance (2003:789).

An English translation of the above-mentioned report, no. 2017:27, is planned for publication on SSM's website in December 2017.

For more information, please contact: Jan Johansson, Senior Specialist, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, via the Authority's duty press officer on Tel. +46 8 799 40 20.