«In the event of a nuclear accident we would use our knowledge to protect the population. In the worst case scenario I would prepare computer-based forecasts on the spread of the radioactive cloud from my position in the protected room of the ENSI emergency organisation. In this way we could estimate the risk to the population and recommend protection measures in the right places. We simulate the worst case scenario over and over again – and hope that it never occurs.»
Cyrill von Arx, specialist for the analysis of radiological accidents
Protection in emergency situations has the aim of protecting the population and the basis of their existence in the case of an abnormal occurrence and of limiting its consequences. On its website ENSI provides information about every incident from level 1 on the “International Nuclear Event Scale” (INES). Even below this level ENSI convenes its own emergency organisation, even if there is no risk to the population and the environment.
In an emergency ENSI ensures the rapid notification of the responsible authorities and specialist units such as the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). Furthermore, ENSI specialists prepare forecasts on the anticipated development of the abnormal occurrence and its consequences. They are able to forecast the spread of radioactive substances after discharge from a nuclear power plant in Switzerland. In this case they also evaluate the measures taken by nuclear power plants to protect their personnel and the surrounding area.
In an emergency with the risk of discharge of radioactive substances into the surrounding area the NEOC and the National Crisis Management Board RBCN are in control. ENSI’s emergency organisation advises the NEOC on suitable protection measures. The Swiss Emergency Protection Ordinance sets out the division of responsibilities between the Confederation, the cantons, regions, municipalities and the operators of nuclear installations.
In order to improve protection in emergency situations on a national level, ENSI, within the framework of IDA NOMEX, has prepared some basic principles for its emergency protection partners in order to be able to plan suitable measures in the event of an abnormal occurrence at a nuclear power plant. The Confederation and the cantons are responsible for protection in emergency situations.