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Emergency Preparedness and Zone Plans

The objectives of emergency preparedness are to protect the impacted population and the basis for their livelihood, and to limit the effects of an event. The tasks and duties of bodies at federal, cantonal, regional and commune level, and of the operators of nuclear plants, are stipulated in the Emergency Preparedness Ordinance.

You can view the zone plans published on the geoportal of the Swiss Confederation by clicking on the map on the right, or here.

Information on the zones in Germany has been published by the Freiburg Regional Council (PDF).

ENSI’s duties in an emergency are as follows:

  •  It ensures that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is rapidly informed.
  • It draws up forecasts regarding the development of the incident in the plant, the potential propagation of radioactivity in the surrounding area, and the consequences of these events.
  • It assesses the expediency of the measures taken by the nuclear power plants regarding the protection of the staff and the surrounding area.
  • It advises the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on measures that should be ordered to protect the population.
  • It operates its own stand-by service.
  • It ensures that its own internal emergency response organisation is in place.

Zone concept

Two zones are defined around each nuclear plant:

  • Zone 1 covers an area in which a hazard to the population may arise in case of a severe incident and where protection measures are required immediately.
  • Zone 2 adjoins Zone 1 and covers an area in which a hazard to the population that calls for protection measures may arise in case of a severe incident. Zone 2 is divided into danger sectors.
  • The rest of Swiss territory is designated as Zone 3.

Emergency exercises

An emergency exercise takes place every year in all nuclear power plants. The exercises are assessed by the nuclear power plants and by ENSI. The results are channelled into the optimisation of the emergency response organisation and its equipment at the nuclear power plants and at ENSI.

Every two years, the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) carries out a general emergency exercise with the participation of one nuclear power plant, the canton where the plant’s site is located, the cantons containing Zone 2 communes, the National Emergency Operations Centre and ENSI.

The exercise is evaluated by all the participants, and the results are channelled into optimisation of the emergency response organisations of all the bodies involved.

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