Nuclear risk: our prevention tips

Cattenom. A very well-known name for the majority of Luxembourg residents, aware of the risk of simply living near a nuclear power plant. However, did you know that the risk zone extends much further than the 20km recommended in the "Special Intervention Plan"? And are you aware that simple actions can protect you from certain effects of a nuclear incident? Learn about these now and be prepared to respond effectively if the situation arises.
The Special Intervention Plan (SIP)

This is a prevention plan put in place by the French government for people living within 20km of a nuclear power plant. These residents are therefore the most aware of the risk they face and what to do in the event of an accident.

In the case of the Cattenom power plant, some municipalities in the south of the country are included in the SIP. Nevertheless, all residents of the country are encouraged to learn about the following preventive measures.

Precautions to be taken in advance as a preventive measure:

  • Build up a safety stockpile (water bottles and food cans for 7 days, medicine kit, clothing, blankets, electric lamps, batteries, fabrics and adhesive strips to seal all openings and vents).
  • If you live within 20km of the plant, you can now buy iodine tablets from a pharmacy. These should be taken in case of a warning, on the instructions of the Ministry of Health only. What are they for? The iodine in the tablet attaches to the thyroid, which has the effect of saturating it in stable iodine that is not harmful to health and thus prevents radioactive iodine from attaching to it. The goal is to prevent cancer.

In the event of a nuclear warning

  • Listen and follow the information and instructions of the authorities.
  • Do not attempt to find your loved ones or risk radioactive exposure.
  • Don't pick up your children from school; they will be taken care of by the school staff.
  • Take your iodine tablets only on instructions from the Ministry of Health. If you don't have one, wait for instructions from the authorities before going to the pharmacy to get them. In fact, it could be dangerous to venture out. Find out here how the tablets are administered. Note that the tablets can be chewed, swallowed or dissolved (useful especially for administering to babies).

If you are outside

  • Go to the nearest building and stay locked up until the warning is lifted.
  • Don't lock yourself in a car; they are not as airtight as a building.
  • Don't touch anything (including your vehicle or food).
  • In case of rain, leave all your clothes, shoes or umbrellas wet outside.
  • As soon as you arrive in an enclosed space, shower and change if possible.

If you are indoors

  • Keep windows and doors closed and seal any gaps that allow outside air in with fabrics or adhesive strips.
  • Also, seal up the vents.
  • Turn off the air conditioning and heating.
  • Do not leave your location until the warning is lifted.

After the warning

You can go out as soon as the warning is lifted, but don't touch your car, or any food and water that may have been contaminated.

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