Nuclear Disaster Management

IPRI Journal XI, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 80-101

Abstract

Arguably a nuclear emergency triggered by an act of war, sabotage or a natural disaster can be the most complex crisis to handle. The crippling of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan by a combination of an earthquake and a tsunami is a case in point. A highly disciplined nation, geared towards managing earthquakes and tsunamis and maintaining a high level of nuclear safety found itself struggling to handle this epic tragedy. Pakistan has a very small nuclear industry, which so far, has escaped any significant, glitches in its operations. A clean track record is not reason enough to conclude that nuclear emergencies may not take place. Officials at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) point out that a Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (NERP) is being prepared in consultation with the experts of the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the Strategic Plans Division (SPD). It is expected that this Plan will cover all kinds of contingencies to handle nuclear disasters. One hopes that it will include guidelines not only for the rescue and relief organisations but also for the general public to follow in a nuclear emergency. This paper aims at underscoring the importance of integrating the common man in the nuclear disaster management plan.

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