What is a nuclear accident

12.12.2019 09:52

What happens in the event of an accident in the nuclear power plant?

Anja Lutz PB2 / press work
Federal Office for Radiation Protection

BfS provides information on nuclear emergency protection with a new animation

What if an accident happens in a nearby nuclear power plant? After a television report about the reactor accident in Fukushima, the girl Anna is unsettled. But her father is a firefighter and knows what happens in the event of an accident and how to act. The disaster control measures are intertwined, the authorities at federal and state level as well as the emergency services on site are prepared. With a new animated film, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) clearly shows the processes in nuclear emergency protection.

In the film, there is a serious accident at the fictional Langenheim nuclear power plant. Large amounts of radioactive substances are released from the power plant and distributed into the environment by the wind. Since the health of the population is at risk, the authorities trigger a disaster alarm. The fire brigade, police and rescue workers are alerted, and the population is called on to leave radio and television sets switched on. The Federal Environment Ministry activates the Federal Radiological Situation Center, in which the BfS also plays a central role.

"In order to protect citizens in emergencies, we have to be permanently prepared," explains BfS President Dr. Inge Paulini. “The nuclear phase-out is a done deal, but radiation does not stop at borders. This was shown by the reactor accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Joint planning by all actors continues to be of crucial importance in order to be able to act effectively in an emergency. Within this network, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection is responsible for measuring radioactivity and for displaying and evaluating it centrally in a situation report with the measurements of other authorities. On this basis, the federal government and the local authorities can decide which specific protective measures are necessary, ”continued Paulini.

In the animated film, the situation in the nuclear power plant deteriorates and the wind spreads radioactive substances in the air. On the basis of the situation report created by the BfS, the civil protection team orders measures to protect the population: The people in the affected area are asked to take the iodine tablets distributed as a precaution; in some areas, people are brought to safety. Even after the accident is over and no more radioactivity is released, fresh foods such as milk and leafy vegetables must be checked for radioactive contamination and, if necessary, disposed of.

The film explains the course of an accident and the measures that the authorities take as a result, in the form of an appealing cartoon animation and in easy-to-understand language. The animated film can now be viewed in the media library on the BfS website and on the BfS YouTube channel: www.bfs.de/notfallschutz-film, www.youtube.com/bfsbund.

Further information on the subject of nuclear emergency protection can be found at www.bfs.de/notfallschutz.

Federal Office for Radiation Protection:
The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) works to protect people and the environment from damage caused by radiation. The BfS informs the population and advises the federal government on all questions of radiation protection. The more than 500 employees assess radiation risks, monitor environmental radioactivity, actively support radiological emergency protection and perform sovereign tasks, including medical and occupational radiation protection. Ultraviolet radiation and radiation-relevant aspects of digitization and the energy transition are further fields of work. As a higher scientific and technical authority, the BfS conducts research and is networked with national and international experts. Further information at www.bfs.de.

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