The physics of the Chernobyl accident

My latest book, an attempt to explain the Chernobyl accident to people who know a bit about physics but not a lot, placing it between the many accounts that have concentrated on the human story and some very technical reports, is now available on amazon after a professional work over by Art Works who have greatly improved the layout and type setting.

Find it at

New article in Nuclear Engineering International

I’m pleased to have another article published in Nuclear Engineering International. This one is about EdF’s excellent in-van gamma spectroscopy system which will improve the speed and accuracy of off-site dose estimates if there is ever an off-site release.

Nuclear Emergency Response for Local Authorities: An Introduction by Keith I Pearce

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.

Buy it here:

Visit the publishers website (



The First Three Years of Katmal Limited

LogoOver the three years since I started to work independently I have had some interesting and challenging work and certainly had a good variety. I’ve spent a lot of time on my computer at home revising, updating and restructuring existing documents for customers or writing new ones on a wide range of topics including the application of new technology to emergency response, reviewing and summarising regulation and guidance, proposing new strategies and proposing systems for classifying emergency structures, systems and components. I’ve also done some mathematical modelling in support of ALARP cases for new facilities. The documents I’ve helped to prepare have gone for internal information/discussion, to regulators, to safety committees and to public web-sites.

I’ve sat in client’s basements extracting information from their IT. I’ve worked in clients offices alongside their full time team consulting with their internal responders and writing and managing training exercises. I’ve travelled the length of England and Scotland supporting and documenting workshops with local authorities, emergency responders, government departments and regulators. I’ve attended meetings with regulators, helping customers move projects forward.

I’ve also spent a lot of time keeping up to date with developments around the world and maintaining a Facebook page and a blog about the things that interest me.

I’ve published a book aimed at telling members of the public a bit more than can be fitted into the REPPIR leaflets about what they might be asked to do to protect themselves during a nuclear accident (Shelter, evacuation, stable iodine and food restrictions) and why these work. This is available as a paperback and as a Kindle file. The trickle of sales (approaching 40!) is fun to watch but is not enough to keep my family in comfort. I’ve been considering further books but have not had the discipline to complete a second one yet. I’ve satisfied my ambition to publish a book if not my ambition to publish a bestselling and useful book.

In UK nuclear emergency planning the big concern at the moment seems to me to be the forthcoming revision of REPPIR. The EU BSSD come out in 2013. The Consultation came out a few weeks ago. The regulations are due next year. There are no signs of draft regulations. That timing does not bode well. The consultation document is unclear on many aspects of the new regulations. My developing thoughts on the Consultation are collected in a blog. You are welcome to join the discussion there.

If I were a local authority I would be concerned about the onus to determine the appropriate scope of the plan possibly being placed on my organisation albeit in consultation with others (paragraph 84).

There is a lack of clarity about scoping emergency schemes particularly with regard severe accidents and its application to sites below the REPPIR threshold. Talk of assuming 100% release is surprising to say the least (Table 4).

As a Health Physics professional I’m surprised and disappointed that, even with the resources of a government department, the authors of the consultation cannot clearly articulate what a Constraint or Reference Level is nor give confidence that these terms will be correctly applied in the new regulation (see paragraph 45 for a poor explanation of a Reference Level).

I’m looking forward to getting myself up to speed with the new regulations and will be available to help local authorities, operators, regulators and government departments understand and apply them.

I hope that in the future I will continue to find varied projects to work on across the industry but the life of an independent contractor is a precarious one so this is far from certain. More work welcome, contact


Customer graphic
Some of Katmal Limit’s customers


How to survive a nuclear emergency now available in paperback

My book “How to survive a nuclear emergency” is now available in paperback and on kindle.

This book adds more detail and discussion to the advice given out by operators and local authorities around REPPIR sites (nuclear sites where exposure of the public due to an accident is reasonably foreseeable) in the UK.

Read a sample by clicking this link.


Buy on kindle.

Buy as paperback

UK/India treaty – Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy


IndiaAn agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of India for Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy has recently been posted on the internet (here).

It would be interesting to know what this treaty changes.

How to survive a nuclear emergency in the UK

coverMy first book “How to survive a nuclear emergency in the UK” is now available on Amazon Kindle.

This book is based on my experience of working with local authorities discussing how best to provide prior information to the public who live or work close to a nuclear power station.

It collects good practice with regard to prior information to the public and provides more information that is possible with the leaflet format that is generally used.

I hope that it will be interesting and thought provoking.

Link to Amazon Kindle UK page here. The book is also available on many other Amazon national sites.