The nuclear accident at the Chernobyl reactor in 1986 shocked the world: more than 100,000 people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were evacuated from the contaminated area and about 5 million were exposed. In France, Germany, Poland and other European countries, radiation protection measures were implemented. The Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 proved that every nuclear reactor harbours a nuclear hazard.
The public perception of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents clearly demonstrated the lack of public information on radiation hazards associated with releases of radionuclides. As both accidents showed, there is only one trustworthy source of information for communities in such an emergency: their own analysis of the information provided, based on personal basic knowledge.
Nowadays, more than 50% of electricity is produced in Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in some countries, and radioactive materials are used in medicine, industry, transport, the military and other areas of human activity. We are exposed to natural radiation from space and the Earth (from granite, thorium sand) or through eating natural radioactive potassium and inhaling radioactive radon. Radiation exposure is part of our lives. On the other hand, there are risks from nuclear or radiological accidents where people can die as a result of radiation exposure.
Prepared by TESEC - European Centre of Technological Safety (Kiev, Ukraine)