Plan Rad: a Uruguayan response to radioactive accidents

Plan Rad: a Uruguayan response to radioactive accidents

The government approved on June 11 the National Emergency and Response Plan for Incidents and Radiological Accidents, which the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM) baptized Plan Rad, with the aim of guaranteeing an organized emergency action, with Coordinated works between different institutions, in front of a radiological accident that happens within the national territory.

An emergency scenario would be, as explained by the MIEM in a press release, for example an accident during the transport of radioactive materials or, also, those that happen outside the country but have transboundary effects. Also, emergency situations can occur in radioactive facilities with permanent location, in different plants or factories, or even fall from the sky. The latter correspond to the entry of satellites propelled, for example, with nuclear energy or falling aircraft that transport radioactive material in Uruguay.

The authorities have explained that each type of emergency involves different response actions. Radioactive facilities with permanent installation have the advantage that the situation and the exact substances that participate in the event are known and, in turn, usually have site-specific emergency plans.

Transport emergencies, on the other hand, can occur anywhere in the country, on any route or at sea, and involve different hazardous materials. According to the ministry statement, in most of these cases local resources are sufficient, but in the event that a more demanding response is needed, the authorities plan to implement a response at the regional level.

To fulfil these objectives, the National Regulatory Authority in Radioprotection, under the MIEM, will be the institution that provides the technical support functions, which will come into force from the first moment in which the radiological accident is notified, and end when all the institutions have completed their response activities. The coordination of the actions, however, will be in the hands of the National Emergency System (SINAE).

The participating institutions are 19. Among them are all the ministries, the firemen, the police, the army, as well as the UTE, OSE, Antel, Dinama, among others.

President Tabaré Vázquez announced in May 2017, while touring Austria, Egypt and Switzerland, that Uruguay is one of the few countries in the world that promotes the use of nuclear energy for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, in particular to treat oncological diseases.

“Uruguay promotes nuclear medicine projects, in particular the treatment against cancer, the determination of chemical agents in agricultural foods for domestic consumption and export, and improvement of productive efficiency in the dairy sector,” said the Uruguayan president announcing the novelty .

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.