Handbook for Regulatory Inspectors of Nuclear Power Plants
Regulatory inspections of nuclear facilities and activities generally consist of a predefined programme of planned inspections and reactive inspections which are both announced and unannounced to ensure that the inspectors obtain a clear understanding of the overall operation of the Nuclear Power Plant. The purpose is to provide independent assurance that the operator is in compliance with regulatory and license requirements and conditions.
This Techdoc is a rather strange accumulation of advice on the inspection process.
GSG-13 identifies four basic methods for obtaining information during an inspection: Monitoring and Direct Observation; Discussions and Interviews; Document Evaluation; and Independent Tests and Measurements. These are expanded on in Section 2.3.2 listing suitable things to inspect in each style and giving hints about how to make the inspection more successful.
Inspections generally should follow a plan – perform – evaluate – report process, which is expanded upon in Section 3, which looks at the phases, and further in Section 4, which looks at how inspections are undertaken. This includes recommending that an inspector be armed with: note book, clipboard, drawings/diagrams; voice recorder; portable computers, tablets; laser pointer; camera; radiation meters; pyrometer/thermal imaging device; and Inspection mirror, providing the site rules allow them.
Section 4.3.1 is an extraordinarily detailed section about some of the components of a nuclear plant (gauges, valves, motors, pumps, pipe supports etc. which seems to be more general plant familiarisation than inspection material. Some nice diagrams are included.
A potentially useful annex gives tables of questions to ask during and after a tour of the plant.
This Techdoc makes an interesting read and could be useful to a reasonably novice inspector as a self-teaching aid and to a more experienced one as a refresher. However, I cannot help thinking that mature national regulators will already have their own material that fits this purpose. For example in the UK the ONR has its extensive set of technical assessment guides (TAGs).
This document discusses the requirements to manage sites entering the Care and Maintenance stage of decommissioning (sometimes called deferred dismantling in IAEA documents and SAFESTOR in the USA) where most of the quick wins in terms of cleaning out components have been achieved and the sites waits for several decades for radiological decay to reduce dose rates to more manageable levels before final dismantling of the reactor core and buildings in completed. It is estimated that about 50% of the nuclear facilities that have been shut down are in safe store and that learning from these sites is increasing. This document was written to allow the benefits of that experience to be shared. It was drafted and reviewed by consultants managed by the IAEA
The document discusses the length of time a site may wait before dismantling based on the half-lives of the isotopes giving most of the dose on the one hand and the deterioration of the structures and containment on the other. It concludes that 15 – 20 years is often a sensible duration provided that there is a suitable waste repository for the final waste arisings.
Section 2 of the document talks about the facilities that are required in safestore, the options to repurpose existing buildings during safestore and the removal of unnecessary buildings. It provides reports of experiences and photographs. Several of the examples are based on the experience of Magnox, which as an ex-employee, pleases me.
Section 3 is about the preparations for safestore. This includes the recording of the hazard inventory and a hazard management plan (remove it or make it safe for the duration of safe store), clean up and deplanting, decontamination, drainage and protection.
In a section on firefighting it states that the risk of fire can be reduced by removing as much of the combustible material and as many ignition sources as practical in the preparations for Care and Maintenance phase. However, it states that a firefighting plan is still required and should be developed and agreed with the local fire fighters and the regulators.
Where external firefighters are the first responders familiarisation training, fire plans, exercising and testing are recommended. For unmanned sites there is a need for automatic alarms that reach the firefighters and the site’s management and access arrangements for the local firefighters. These firefighters must have the appropriate security training and classification to enter the site unescorted.
Security measures are required to keep people off the site to avoid vandalism, damage and theft and also to reduce damage by vermin.
The continuing need for environmental monitoring of radionuclides is discussed in Section 6.6. This is likely to be a regulatory requirement but at a lower level that when the site was operating. It is suggested that it would be sensible to taper off monitoring after a period of about five years by which time a workable baseline understanding of the site would have been achieved. There is a warning that new release pathways may be revealed in time.
The interesting bit of this document for me is the section on emergency planning.
The document (Section 7.5) states that “emergency planning and preparedness (EPP) is necessary for a safe enclosure as it contains large amounts of radioactive materials due to structures, systems or components activation and contamination in various parts of the facility”.
As the risks of the facility reduce the operator should review and rewrite emergency plans to ensure that they remain fit for purpose. Off-site measuring equipment can be reduced but is still required and must be maintained. I assume this is referring to off-site radiation detection. In my experience this is sensibly reduced to perimeter monitoring equipment because of the small releases feasible from such structures do not give a sufficient signal very far downwind.
The document admits that it might be difficult to get the local authorities to agree on the need to maintain and test emergency plans for a site in safestore and suggest that the need to be able to deal with protestors and intruders might be one selling point.
There are sections on the management and regulation of sites, the costing of decommissioning activities (including an introduction to a system called the International Structure for Decommissioning Costing).
Section 12 and several of the annexes of the report give outlines and experiences of decommissioning projects around the world including Magnox’s lead and learn process which has been used to ensure that learning is shared between the different sites and that the process becomes more effective and cheaper with each subsequent site.
This publication does not represent in-depth guidance on care and maintenance of decommissioning nuclear sites. It provides a high level review of the aims of care and maintenance and some of the key considerations. Several examples are discussed. As such it makes interesting reading and may be useful as an introduction to the field for those in operating facilities that are coming to the end of their design life.
I’m very pleased to announce that my second book has now been published on Amazon. I’ve enjoyed writing this one. It attempts to explain nuclear emergency response to those who know little or nothing about the industry. It is based on the knowledge I’ve gained working on safety cases, dose assessment, emergency preparedness and emergency response. I hope it will help local authority and emergency services personnel in particular but be interesting to a slightly wider readership.
A serious radiological accident occurred in Peru around midnight on 11 January 2012 during non-destructive testing in the district of Chilca, in the Cañete Province of Lima. An iridium-192 source in a radiography camera being used to test pipeline joints became stuck inside the guide tube, resulting in three workers being overexposed to ionizing radiation.
Pipes were being welded together and a radiography camera was being used to determine the quality of the welds. The equipment used consisted of a 192Ir source inside a shield (see picture). When an exposure is required a remote winding mechanism is used to move the source from inside the shield, along a tube and into collimator – this produces a beam of gamma rays that are used to make the measurement.
The process involves attaching the collimator and guide tube to one side of the pipe being tested and an unexposed film to the other side of the pipe, then retreating, winding
the source out, making the exposure and then winding the source in and repeating. The blackening of the film shows where gamma rays have been less well attenuated and can highlight defects in the weld or pipe wall. The team of three took 97 exposures during a night shift. Finishing at 02:20 on 12 January 2012.
The company provided the workers with a kit that included a set of tools and equipment for operational and personal safety. However, the two assistants, Co-worker 1 and Co-worker 2, left their personal dosimeters in the transportation vehicle; thus, Worker 1 was the only worker wearing a personal dosimeter. None of the workers used alarming dosimeters or direct reading dosimeters. They did not adequately test that the source was returning to the shield at the end of each exposure.
At the end of the shift, when the equipment was being dismantled, it was discovered that the source had not returned to its housing.
At 02.30 worker 1 was sick and he continued to be sick for the next few hours. In the course of the night co-worker1 experienced fatigue and co-worker 2 dizziness.
On investigation it was found that some of the films were overexposed.
On 15 January 2012 erythema (redness of the skin or mucous membranes, caused by hyperemia (increased blood flow) in superficial capillaries which occurs with any skin injury, infection, or inflammation and is a symptom of radiation burning) appeared on the left hand index finger of Worker 1. The company then realized that the workers had been overexposed to radiation.
The Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy (IPEN) was alerted and responded by recommending hospitalisation of the three workers. A formal request for assistance (the first of three as the situation developed) was sent from IPEN to the IAEA on 20 January 2012 under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (the Assistance Convention) for dose reconstruction and medical advice. International support helped to understand the medical conditions of the exposed workers and determine their treatment, to understand the doses received and to consider further actions.
The prodromal symptoms of the three were carefully recorded and they were subjected to close examination and observation. The three patients were classified in accordance with the Medical Treatment Protocols for Radiation Accident Victims (METREPOL) system. This considers neurovascular, haematological, cutaneous and gastrointestinal issues and rates each person on a scale of 1 (minimum severity) to 4 (maximum severity) for each. Consideration of the symptoms displayed, the time to onset and their severity allows the doctors to estimate the dose and dose distribution received by a patient and this allows them to predict the course of their illness and to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Worker 1 was the most severely exposed to radiation during the accident. He received a significantly heterogeneous whole body dose of 1.8 Gy (with 75% of the body having received a dose in the range of 4 Gy), as well as doses ranging from 20 to 50 Gy to the extremities of both hands. He was subject to a programme of care and investigation in Peru, Chile and in France. He received reconstructive surgery and cell therapy (mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or MSC injections) but still had to have parts of his hand amputated on day 101 after the event.
It was concluded that the work had been badly managed. The trained radiological protection officer was not present, the equipment had been assembled by an untrained person, no attempt had been made to confirm the correct retraction of the source, there were no alarming dosimeters and two of the team were not wearing the supplied dosimeters. This shows poor application of rules and guidance and a poor safety culture.
An observation was that “significant time (6 d) was taken to recognize the radiological nature of the accident, despite the availability of substantial evidence and clinical manifestations. Consequently, as has happened in many other radiological accidents, valuable time was lost before the workers were given appropriate medical evaluation and treatment.” It is suggested that doctors should be trained to suspect and to identify the effects of radiation when patients present with the symptoms of acute radiation syndrome or their case history suggests it is possible.
It was observed that there were problems associated with the analysis of samples and with the sending samples by airline as they demanded confirmation that they were not dangerous. There were also delays with treatment, particularly treatment abroad, on cost grounds, the workers lacking insurance.
The important message here is that these accidents happen and are continuing to happen. Could it happen in the UK? We would like to think not but it only takes a few mistakes with this type of equipment to result in over-exposure. Would it be detected more quickly? We would like to think so. There is at least a suggestion that the workers involved were not open with their initial reports as they feared blame for failing to work to procedures more than they feared the consequences of overexposure and delayed treatment.
This could happen in any county in the UK. It is worth being aware of that and considering how the local authority would react to an event in their area.
A Methodology for Establishing a National Strategy for Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety. IAEA Safety Report Series No. 93.
This document discusses how a country developing its nuclear capabilities should consider the needs for education and training to deliver a sufficient number of competent people in each discipline required giving the range of facilities and activities in the country. It recognises the potential need for various levels and fields of qualification including qualified expert, radiation protection officer, operator, health professional.
The guidance is stated as “describing good practices [which] represents expert opinion but does not constitute recommendations made on the basis of a consensus of Member States”.
It recommends a fairly standard training needs analysis methodology consisting of an assessment phase, a design phase, a develop and implement phase and an evaluation phase. As is usual these are arranged in a cycle to ensure the provision reacts to changes in needs and progress.
The assessment phase looks at the range of facilities in the country and the education and training requirements specified in the legal and regulatory framework, plus any requirements associated with professional qualifications.
The design phase lists the range of courses and their capacity required to meet the national needs and considers who is able to provide the training (including foreign expertise for those in the early phases of development). This can include existing universities and training colleges, national facilities and private providers.
The consideration of formal qualifications, overseen by suitable organisations, and experience leading to recognition by professional bodies is required to ensure proof of adequate knowledge and experience for some roles. This process will identify career routes and pipelines providing the required personnel.
The IAEA’s EduTA methodology is also mentioned as a way of focussing peer review on the nation’s educational and training system.
The meeting of the identified training needs may require capability development or the purchase of capability from other countries. Shortfalls in capability should be analysed and managed. Train the trainer (TTT) is mentioned as a powerful technique to develop capability.
The development and implementation of the programme requires that every identified education and training need should be matched with an appropriate methodology, such as attendance at a structured course, on the job training or distance learning and that opportunities to undertake such training are provided. These training services should be carefully specified and designed and delivered by suitable qualified and experience people.
The IAEA suggests that “the development and implementation of a national strategy for education and training will require government support and the long term commitment of all relevant stakeholders (e.g. regulatory body, governmental and other authorities and organizations in the field of radiation protection and safety, education and training providers, professional organizations). In this respect, the establishment of a high level steering committee of stakeholders will greatly facilitate the development of a policy document that outlines the rationales for the national strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety. The same committee could also oversee the development and implementation of the national strategy”. In fact, in countries with mature industries this organisation may not be needed. Legal requirements for professional qualifications for some roles, regulatory expectations of the training and experience of personnel and commercial drivers for a safe and competent workforce can achieve the same ends. Issues of supply and demand of skilled workers may occur if significant changes in the structure of the industry occur such as extensive new build programmes or decommissioning activities start.
Evaluation consists of continuous evaluation – the comparison of progress against programme, and long term evaluation of the overall efficiency and effectiveness of delivering the needs of the nuclear industry.
The remainder of the document is taken up with appendices giving examples.
It shows how the nation’s needs can be assessed by listing the facilities that use nuclear knowledge and assessing their needs for qualified people.
It provides example syllabi for courses for RPO in nuclear medicine.
It provides an appendix giving an overview of actions for establishing a National strategy for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety. This provides a table detailing how 20 actions, distributed across 7 organisations in 5 phases leads to the outcome “The national education and training programme continues to be effective and up to date”.
I do wonder if the world really needs IAEA Safety Report Series 93. It is a fine piece of work but of limited imagination and limited application.
BEIS has issued a Ministerial Statement to both houses of Parliament (Commons and Lords) with regard to policy in the light of leaving euratom. It proposes a twofold approach of (1) “negotiations with the European Commission to seek a close association with Euratom and to include Euratom in any implementation period negotiated as part of our wider exit discussions”; and (2) “to put in place all the necessary measures to ensure that the UK could operate as an independent and responsible nuclear state from day one.”
It might do well to read a recent publication from IAEA Knowledge Loss Risk Management in Nuclear Organisations. This sees challenges resulting from an aging workforce, an industry that runs plant for several decades with different skill sets being required for design, build, operate and decommission stages leading to changing workforce and management. The long duration of nuclear projects also results in issues of technology obsolescence and the need for the introduction of new skills such as cyber security. In the UK we can add the risks posed by the free market “policy” that is resulting in a series of very different prototypes being built or proposed.
This is an issue that should concern BEIS because, of course, the average tenure of a civil servant in a particular influential post is very short compared to the nuclear project duration. They need to ensure that they maintain the knowledge, skills and systems to understand what the NDA, operators, ONR, the environment agencies have been tasked to do and how well or badly they are doing it.
The IAEA document seeks to increase awareness among nuclear organisation managers of the need for a strategic approach and actions plans to identify and manage the risks of individual and organisational knowledge loss.
The IAEA projections show the number of nuclear reactors operating in the world rising, with most of the growth in countries that already have a nuclear industry. Within this picture reactors are retiring and will take experienced resource to decommission them. An even greater cause of need for new recruits is expected to be the loss of skilled and experienced workers to retirement, internal transfer or promotion, or resignation. One scenario for the USA shows 19,000 new positions and 63,000 new hires by 2030.
The IAEA propose a Strategic Workforce Planning system that is composed of a cycle of Workforce Analytics, Workforce development, Execution and Metrics and Business Unit Planning.
They call for a “Coherent intervention by governments, industry, universities and R&D organisations” to provide a feed line of skilled and competent workers.
In the UK the NDA fund R&D in the area of nuclear decommissioning to meet its obligations under the Energy Act “to promote and, where necessary, carry out research in relation to its primary function of decommissioning” and “to ensure that there is a skilled workforce available to undertake the work of decommissioning” (NDA University and Research Strategy). Various universities offer nuclear power material to undergraduates and postgraduates (For example: Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, and Cambridge). These have different levels of direct links to the industry and it is not entirely clear that the situation can be called a “strategy” or described as “coherent” but it does (presumably) provide a feed of skilled (but not experienced) youngsters for the industry.
Figure 1 Knowledge devlopment from IAEA NG-T-6.11
Figure 1 shows the IAEA view of the relationship between workforce planning and knowledge management. Those new to the industry are likely to spend some working, learning and training before becoming independent competent workers and then some further time before achieving recognition as an expert in their field. The art of knowledge transfer management is to ensure that, where an expert leaves for any reason while their skills are still needed, a suitable replacement is ready to take the post.
On the industry side, workforce planning is required Site Licence Conditions 12 and 36 (below). This leads to systems which identify key skills, suitably qualified and experienced personnel and succession management.
Licence Condition 12:
Duly authorised and other suitably qualified and experienced persons
1 The licensee shall make and implement adequate arrangements to ensure that only suitably qualified and experienced persons perform any duties which may affect the safety of operations on the site or any other duties assigned by or under these conditions or any arrangements required under these conditions.
2 The aforesaid arrangements shall also provide for the appointment, in appropriate cases, of duly authorised persons to control and supervise operations which may affect plant safety.
3 The licensee shall submit to ONR for approval such part or parts of the aforesaid arrangements as ONR may specify.
4 The licensee shall ensure that once approved no alteration or amendment is made to the approved arrangements unless ONR has approved such alteration or amendment.
5 The licensee shall ensure that no person continues to act as a duly authorised person if, in the opinion of ONR, he is unfit to act in that capacity and ONR has notified the licensee to that effect.
Licence Condition 36:
1 The licensee shall provide and maintain adequate financial and human resources to ensure the safe operation of the licensed site.
2 Without prejudice to the requirements of paragraph 1, the licensee shall make and implement adequate arrangements to control any change to its organisational structure or resources which may affect safety.
3 The licensee shall submit to ONR for approval such part or parts of the aforesaid arrangements as ONR may specify.
4 The licensee shall ensure that once approved no alteration or amendment is made to the approved arrangements unless ONR has approved such alteration or amendment.
5 The aforesaid arrangements shall provide for the classification of changes to the organisational structure or resources according to their safety significance. The arrangements shall include a requirement for the provision of adequate documentation to justify the safety of any proposed change and shall where appropriate provide for the submission of such documentation to ONR.
6 The licensee shall if so directed by ONR halt the change to its organisational structure or resources and the licensee shall not recommence such change without the consent of ONR.
The IAEA recommend a knowledge management team and define a list of participating roles and stakeholders for a typical nuclear power plant and the team’s main functions. It then outlines an Organisational Competence Loss Risk Assessment methodology. Among other tools this suggest a risk matrix which lists the skills requirements in each area and maps who, within the organisation, has those skills. This leads to the identification of those areas at risk of knowledge loss and the development of an Action Plan to restore the situation.
Another tool assesses the skills and knowledge of any employee nearing retirement, promotion or otherwise likely to leave their current post and initiates an Action Plan if appropriate.
The remainder of the document provides tools, forms, guidance and case studies.
The IAEA have just published their Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050. These are obtained by looking at all nuclear power reactors in operation, in build and in planning across the world and making best estimate, pessimistic and optimistic estimates of the electricity they might be expected to generate up to 2050.
The highlights reported include:
There were 448 operational nuclear power reactors in the world at the end of 2016, with a total net installed power capacity of 391 GW(e).
An additional 61 units with a total capacity of 61 GW(e) were under construction.
During 2016, ten new nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 9531 MW(e) were connected to the grid, and three reactors with a total capacity of 1405 MW(e) were retired.
In 2016, construction began on three new units that are expected to add a total capacity of 3014 MW(e).
Nuclear power accounted for about 11% of total electricity production in 2016.
Coal still leads as the major source for electricity generation across the world with natural gas growing.
Hydropower and renewables grew to 24.8% in 2016 compared to 11% nuclear electricity production.
World energy consumption is expected to increase by 18% by 2030 and by 39% by 2050, at an annual growth rate of about 1%.
More than half of the existing nuclear power reactors are over 30 years old and are scheduled to be retired in the coming years.
ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION BY ENERGY SOURCE IN THE COMBINED REGIONS OF NORTHERN, WESTERN AND SOUTHERN EUROPE IN 2016
The EU-OPERA SHAMISEN project started in December 2015. One driver for this project was the realisation that existing recommendations on nuclear accident dose control had an almost exclusively technical focus which was directed towards the decision making process of experts while failing to consider the impact on the general populations. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima taught us that averting dose is only part of the process of protecting the public; social, ethical, psychological issues are as important, if not more so. What was needed was a set of recommendations that would contribute to health surveillance and related communication with affected populations after nuclear accidents.
The project has now reported (here). It presents a number of recommendations and, for each one, it briefly explains why they make the recommendation, how it can be satisfied and who should take the lead. This is a very good format for this type of document.
Of particular interest to me are:
R7 Build a radiation protection culture between radiation protection experts, healthcare workers, professionals and the general public. This is a very big ask. Radiation Protection is eye wateringly complex and it takes several hours to explain the basics to people with a good science education. The big questions are how are the healthcare workers going to find the time to listen and how are you going to convince the public that they need to devote the time and effort to learning. After an accident in their area I think we’d have their attention but not before. This is a laudable ambition, teaching materials can be written (indeed many good examples already exist) but after that there are no quick wins.
R8 Establish early response and communication protocols with responsibilities and roles clearly laid out. Engage relevant stakeholders in the establishment of these protocols, and prepare the necessary material and channels to communicate with the public (including social media). This is part of the preparedness phase. Much of this is already part of basic emergency plans. Off-site plans invariably list who should be alerted and define the roles and responsibilities of responders. Maybe more could be done to prepare information and discuss how it could be presented to the public on the day of an event and in the days and weeks following an event.
R10 Prepare and facilitate training and education material and resources adapted to healthcare and other professionals, as well as other stakeholders. This is another laudable ambition to pre-position healthcare, community leaders and teachers with suitable knowledge and teaching materials ready to step and inform and reassure the public if the worst happens. Again the problem is one of time and focus. Healthcare professionals have a lot of competing issues to consider as they strive to support the community health.
R13 Foster participation of stakeholders and communities by engaging them in emergency preparedness, including planning for socio-economic health surveillance and, where appropriate, epidemiology. Again the industry and the government already does a lot in this area with regular meetings with community groups and community group representation on multi-agency emergency planning meetings. This tends to be more about the arrangements to promulgate and alert and support early countermeasures rather than socio-economics and epidemiology. (Having said that health physics is a challenge to teach it must be recognised that it is relatively straightforward compared to epidemiology).
R14 Ensure prompt sharing of accurate and reliable information (e.g., plant conditions, radiation dose, radiation protection actions) between nuclear plant representatives, authorities, experts and the population. The paper has a great quote here; “it is easier to scare than to reassure”. Talking about the tendency of misinformation to quickly fill any gaps in communication it reports that “a recent study found that, during the Zika virus outbreak, the most popular social media health stories were the least accurate”. This isn’t a surprise but it does focus us on the reality of public communication – it is difficult. The authors conclude this section by saying that “the benefits of online information offer the public a unique opportunity to learn about nuclear power, which may outweigh the costs associated with “internet cacophony”.
I find the recommendation R18 Provide support to populations who wish to make their own measurements, recommending reliable equipment and resources (e.g., apps, social media, information centres) that can contribute to the characterisation of population exposure and its evolution a little hard to agree with. Radiation detection is relatively easy. Radiation measurement is quite difficult. Interpretation of radiation measurements in terms of harm is difficult. There could be benefits from providing groups of people immediately affected by the incident with a group EPD to give a quick assessment of their dose during the acute phase, and providing everyone who returns from evacuation with a personal TLD (collected and read by the authorities) to assess their doses systematically. But I would hesitate to encourage unskilled people to wield unfamiliar radiation monitors and use the results to affect their behaviour.
The recovery phase recommendations all have merit and consideration of this document should be included in any recovery phase planning effort.
What do we need to do better as a result of this advice?
I think that the idea of building up radiological protection knowledge capital prior to an event is sensible but difficult. Encouraging healthcare professions, community leaders and people the community might trust such as teachers is always going to struggle against competing calls on their time and attention. Given that other threats such as flu pandemic, other health scares and themes such as mental health, diet and obesity are more likely to impact they are more likely to take the training time of these people. The industry’s outreach and information programmes should continue.
Early response tools, such as briefing material, are often spoken about and nuclear operators tend to have trained Media Technical Briefers to explain the complexities of nuclear accidents and health implications on the day. A review to see if more can be done, particularly with emerging technology and communications channels, should be undertaken periodically.
This report is well thought out, well presented and valuable. It deserves to be read by nuclear emergency planners and those responders with responsibility for advising and supporting members of the public before, during and after an accident.
PHE and NHS England have issued new advice on planning for heatwaves (here).
The purpose of this heatwave plan is to reduce summer deaths and illness by raising public awareness and triggering actions in the NHS, public health, social care and other community and voluntary organisations to support people who have health, housing or economic circumstances that increase their vulnerability to heat.
It states a concern that periods of hot weather will become more common in the UK as climate change kicks in leading to increased deaths among several identified vulnerable groups and some infrastructure issues.
The Met. Office has a mechanism for promulgating alerts about forecasts of dangerous weather conditions and this is explained in the context of heatwaves and is linked to five levels of heatwave readiness.
We should be trying to make our public spaces, buildings and homes cooler by design, including tree planting and open water features. Cooling homes by appropriate shading and ventilation but also by choice of colours for curtains and roofs.
On the day we should be avoiding exercise in the midday sun, drinking plenty of water but less caffeine, wearing cool clothing and looking out for our neighbours.
It is a bit light on what employers can do to protect their workforce without sacrificing more productivity than required but, if they read the report, they’ll pick up some useful tips.
This document states that it is important to have plans in place to manage the decontamination of the environment (built and natural) following a CBRN event or accident that spreads contamination. This is sensible at national levels but the report states that “The possibility of exposure to CBRN should be a key component of business continuity planning (BCP) in order to maximise resilience, safeguard life and property, and minimise operational disruption”.
This is taking things too far. Many Business Continuity Managers complain that they can’t get support for the maintenance of plans against things that might reasonably be expected to happen. I’m really not sure that we can expect companies and households to have CBRN decontamination plans.