Twenty years after the major accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the radioactive contamination continues to have an important impact on lives in the vicinity, and to a lesser extent in areas such as Western Europe and beyond. The purpose of this report is not to address clinical or environmental studies, but to look at how people are coping with the difficulties they still face. Commissioned by the Committee for Radiation Protection and Public Health of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the report focuses on the role of radiological protection and how this discipline has been deployed to help people manage their lives.
Although the topic of this report concerns radioactivity and nuclear power, it can also be very useful to policy makers and experts dealing with the aftermath of wide-scale disasters, regardless of their causes (natural, accidental or malicious).
Whilst we all hope never to see another event causing contamination on the scale that followed Chernobyl, it is prudent to be prepared. Hence this report also describes many of the problems that could need to be faced in the longer term by technical specialists, should such a contamination event occur, and presents ways of dealing with them. This report will provide readers with insights into how to plan better for this type of event, in particular beyond the immediate response phase.