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Keith Pearce, Author and Consultant

Keith Pearce, Consultant and Author

Keith Pearce originally trained as a nuclear physicist but his first real job, at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London, was to teach nuclear submariners and nuclear dockyard officers about radiation; about what it is, how to measure it, how it interacts with matter, how it can harm human beings and how to stay safe in its presence.

He then moved to Nuclear Electric and joined their Health Physics Research team and spent several years developing and applying models of the movement of radioactivity in the atmosphere, seas and foodchains and the consequential dose to members of the public. This work supported the safety cases for gas cooled reactors, the Magnox (now shutdown) and Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGR) classes as used in the UK.

In this role he helped to develop the tools used to estimate the dose to the public in an emergency to help formulate countermeasure advice. He joined the site emergency scheme as an on-site radiation monitor (an uncomfortable job involving the wearing of coveralls and respirator and walking around in a radiation plume most have run away from), an Assistant Health Physicist (a more comfortable job in an air conditioned room and near to the coffee machine) and then as an Executive Officer (a job where other people keep your coffee cup charged).

He also joined the Company’s central emergency response organisation, taking on dose assessment, health physics and command roles.

As Head of Emergency Planning, responsible for the emergency preparedness of ten Magnox nuclear reactor sites in, he worked with regulators, government officials, emergency services, local authorities and other expert groups to revise and maintain national standards and to keep the ten separate emergency plans and the corporate response up to standard. He played a significant role in the training of site and corporate emergency responders. He also witnessed many Level 2 exercises from Strategic Coordination Centres (SCCs) and participated as Company Media Technical Briefer.

For several years he has worked as an independent consultant and author. In this time he has helped to write, review and maintain emergency schemes for new build companies, nuclear dockyards, operating companies and local authorities. He can contacted via his Consultancy Company email to Katmal Limited

He has published three books:

  • How to survive a nuclear emergency

    This book provides indepth preparedness advice for those who live near a nuclear facility. It is intended for members of the public who are not satisfied with the level of detail given in REPPIR leaflets. Learn more and buy

  • Emergency planning and response

    This is an updated and greatly extended version of "Nuclear Emergency Response for Local Authorities: An Introduction" (2018) by Keith Pearce.

    This book provides a wide ranging discussion of nuclear emergency planning focused on the UK but dipping into the regulation and guidance given in other countries. It describes the nuclear fuel cycle, concentrating on the risk assessments that help define the performance requirements for off-site plans. It provides some background science about radiation and radiation protection, including the protective actions that can be taken to reduce the harm of a nuclear accident. It reviews the UK regulation with some discussion of the differences and similarities with other countries. It reviews guidance from the IAEA, the UK government and other UK organisations and compares this with other countries, particularly where they seem to do better. It describes the process for writing and maintaining off-site plans and the roles played by the supporting organisations and it describes the response to a range of radiological emergencies including those within the nuclear industry, but also lost and orphan sources, satellite re-entry and terrorism. Learn more and buy

  • The physics of the Chernobyl accident

    This highly readable explanation of what went wrong at Chernobyl neatly slips into the gap between the densely worded, and highly technical, official reports of the accident and the human story presented in many popular books and so intriguingly retold in the recent TV mini-series, Chernobyl. Learn more and buy

Keith Pearce, Chernobyl control room



Katmal limited is Keith's consultancy business through which you can hire him to help you improve your emergency preparedness. Learn more

Last updated 25/11/2021