What a nuclear emergency is
¿Qué es una emergencia nuclear?
A nuclear emergency is a state that can be declared by the competent authorities when an event in a nuclear power plant disturbs its normal functioning to the point that it could cause an accident in which the reactor protection systems fail, errors occur in the operation of the facility or there is the possibility of reaching abnormal levels of exposure to ionising radiation or radioactive contamination within or outside the nuclear power plant site.
Since the possibility of an accident can never be completely eliminated in nuclear power plants, it is necessary to have nuclear emergency response plans that establish the actions to be taken to mitigate and reduce its adverse consequences on the public and the environment. If an accident occurs, these emergency plans are immediately activated to provide a suitable response from the authorities and the public and private services needed to guarantee an appropriate protection of the population.
From the activation of the plans, the responsible authorities immediately inform the affected public on the data of the emergency, on the behaviour they must adopt and, depending on the situation involved, on the protection measures that must be applied. Information to the public is given using the various available means, public address, radio and TV stations and others. In the event of an emergency, it is important to only listen to official sources, follow the directions provided by them and remain calm and serene.
For the public within the nuclear power plants’ emergencies plan areas, leaflets have been edited with precise information on how to act in an emergency tailored for each population centre. These leaflets have been published jointly by the Directorate General for Civil Protection and Emergencies and the Nuclear Safety Council.