There is considerable maritime traffic of nuclear-powered icebreakers and military vessels, and transport of spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive materials along the Nordic coastlines. This traffic represents a risk for potential accidents and events resulting in radioactive contamination and/or spread of radioactive materials into the Nordic marine and terrestrial environments.
The uncertainty and difficulty in the situation, and the large possible consequences for health, environment, local communities, industries and other societal matters, put additional pressure on monitoring and responding authorities, radiation safety authorities, coastguards and rescue services. This kind of events will have an international dimension, and there is a need for a good and direct cooperation between neighbouring countries in order to discuss preparedness and response systems, interaction, and different ways to manage the situation – including mitigating actions. This also includes the issue of bilateral or international assistance, both what kind of assistance is needed, available resources and host nation issues.
In 2015, the NKS NORCOP-COAST project organised a workshop where relevant authorities from Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland convened in a 2-days workshop in Tromsø, Norway, in order to discuss existing emergency preparedness systems, some possible scenarios, notification procedures and interactions between the countries. Rosatom (Russia) also participated in the workshop. The workshop showed a need for defining relevant scenarios, better describing the different roles and responsibilities of the authorities involved, investigating mitigating actions, looking into information needs among the public and the possibility of rendering and receiving bilateral and international assistance.
The NKS COASTEX project follows up on NKS NORCOP-COAST with a scenario bank with 5-7 relevant scenarios describing different aspects and issues concerning events related to traffic of nuclear-powered vessels and transportation of spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive materials along the Nordic coastline. In addition, during the project we will develop a table top exercise concept using these scenarios. The concept will consist of the scenarios, dispersion models and consequence estimates, and relevant topics for discussion. The target participants for the exercises will be the affected monitoring and responding authorities, radiation safety authorities, coastguards and rescue services. The aim of the exercises will be to discuss issues related to interaction between countries on different levels, issues related to managing the situation, issues related to assessments and prognoses, and issues related to bilateral and international assistance.
The workshop will be in Reykjavik, Iceland. The scenario bank and the table top exercise concept will be written into a report and disseminated to all Nordic countries. The Nordic countries will be invited to use the table top exercise concept to organise table top exercises on a national level in each country.
The aim of the NKS COASTEX is to improve emergency preparedness and response capabilities along the Nordic coastline. The outcome of the project will be the report describing the scenario bank and the table top exercise concept, and the final report summarising the project.
Carrying out the table top exercises are not part of this project. The Nordic countries are invited to carry out the exercises nationally during 2017. Based on the results of the exercises, the project participants aim to organise a follow-up NKS project to summarise the outcomes of the exercises.