Expert: Update Sweden's nuclear emergency zones
The safety zones around Sweden's nuclear power plants are outdated and should be redrawn, says one nuclear safety expert.
Sweden designated geographic areas around its nuclear plants after the Three Mile Island accident, a partial meltdown of a reactor in Pennsylvania in 1979.
But Jan Johansson, who works for the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in its unit for emergency preparedness, said Sweden's emergency zones were drawn using then-relevant telephone exchange areas.
"When the zones were established in the 80s, then you had an automatic, indoor telephone alert. The emergency zones were drawn along the telephone exchange areas," said Johansson to Swedish Radio news. He said those zones no longer make sense.
People who live near nuclear power plants receive iodine tablets, which can be taken to protect against thyroid cancer in case of an accident. Different warning systems and emergency measures have been put in place for areas in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, but their geographical boundaries have become obsolete and unclear.
"It should be easy to know if you are insider or outside of the zone," said Johansson. "you could imagine instead defining a zone using roads or rivers or anything else that is easy to see in the wild."
In the vicinity of the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, Arne Löfgren told Swedish Radio's reporter that he rarely thinks about an accident happening.
"You get used to it. The worry disappears. But the idea dose pop up sometimes, like when we receive these (test) alarm signals. But otherwise, there's no thought of it in day to day life, I think," he said.