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Cost-effective sustainable technologies and crisis management strategies for RN large-scale protection of population and infrastructures after a nuclear blast or nuclear facility incident

A nuclear explosion in any EU member country (or in the European neighbourhood) would lead to disastrous effects for numerous EU citizens and residents. For example, the initial effects from a nuclear explosion in a city will lead to, besides numerous dead and severely injured citizens, destroyed infrastructure. The radioactive plume containing particulate matter may damage ventilation systems and fallout will generate high dose rates. Criticality or other incidents at nuclear power plants and nuclear-powered vessels may occur because of direct attack, sabotage, collateral damage, accidents, loss of infrastructure services such as power and/or water supply or lack of necessary skilled personnel on site.

Research on large-scale protection of population and infrastructure in the event of a nuclear explosion need to be undertaken both separately as well as in a RN-perspective. Research activities aimed at updating EU’s possibilities for large-scale protection of population and infrastructure in the event of a nuclear explosion would benefit from being carried out in close cooperation with other EU-members. Research activities should also pertain to improved understanding of the radioactive fallout and assessment of dose rates to the population following a nuclear explosion in order to enable use of cost-effective sustainable technologies in protection of population and infrastructures.

In a situation after a RN-incident the time consuming and laborious decontamination procedures for the population must be reduced to a minimum. Therefore, the possibility to identifying the need for decontamination, and above all to assess that there is no need for decontamination would be beneficial as well as the possibility to enter a shelter or other protected area in a safe way.

Protective measures in the aftermath of a RN disaster may vary depending on situations. Such measures should be based on evaluated risks rather than probabilities. Starting with sensor- as well as other available data, measures could be optimized from a risk-cost point-of-view resulting in cost-effectiveness.

Based on measurement data, appropriate protective actions could be decided upon. If a risk analysis results in a low risk, a lower level of mitigating measures might be needed resulting in lower costs. Then resources can be used in other areas where they are more needed, leading to an overall optimized protection.

Protective actions should be based on risk modelling. Such modelling is based on available knowledge of different input quantities resulting in a probability distribution, from which the risk can be calculated applying a consequence function.

New technologies should be compatible with RN crisis management systems, strategies for crisis communication and take into account relevant societal and human factors, such as vulnerable group and cultural and linguistic diversities. In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is encouraged. The action should take due consideration to EU policies, in particular the SevesoIII and CER Directives.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research/innovation activities.

Within this topic, the European Commission encourages all potential participants to create, where possible, opportunities for the affected persons and entities, in particular researchers and innovators previously active in Ukraine as well as Ukrainian researchers and innovators who are unable to return to Ukraine in the given circumstances.