Radioactive Emergency Response
Following the Chernobyl incident in April 1986, the UK Government developed a National Response Plan to ensure that any future similar emergency could be managed. In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Emergency Committee set up a specialised group, the Northern Ireland Technical Advice Group (NITAG).
NITAG operates under the Chairmanship of the Chief Radiochemical Inspector with professional membership of the group drawn from the Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate (IPRI) and those Northern Ireland Departments and Agencies likely to be involved in considering and advising on the implications for Northern Ireland of an overseas nuclear emergency.
A key element of the National Response Plan was the establishment of a national radiation monitoring network and nuclear emergency response system known as RIMNET (Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network). There are 92 RIMNET monitoring stations (.PDF 473Kb) continuously measuring gamma radiation dose rates throughout the UK with five stations in Northern Ireland. The five stations are at
- Ballypatrick, County Antrim
- Aldergrove, County Antrim
- Glenanne, County Armagh
- St Angelo, County Fermanagh
- Carmoney, County Londonderry
IPRI plays a major role in NITAG activities locally, participates in the Radiation Incident Monitoring Coordinating Committee (RIMCC) and also takes part in various exercises using the RIMNET system to test its reaction capability and effectiveness.