Title: Decision analysis of countermeasures for the milk pathway after an accidental release of radionuclides.

Authors: Micheal Ammann, Kari Sinkko, Eila Kostiainen, Anneli Salo, Kari Liskola, Raimo P. Hämäläinen and Jyri Mustajoki

Status: Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, STUK-A186, December 2001, pp. 57.


Keywords: nuclear emergency management, countermeasures, milk pathway, decision support, multi-attribute risk analysis, RODOS

A facilitated workshop was arranged to plan countermeasures that could reduce the dose arising from the consumption of radionuclide-contaminated milk products. It was assumed that a hypothetical accident in a nuclear facility had led to the release of considerable amounts of radionuclides, which subsequently spread across one of Finlandís most important agricultural regions and contaminated the milk produced there. The participants in the workshop, interest groups on food issues, considered all the factors influencing the countermeasure decision, not only radiological or monetary ones but less tangible psychosocial effects as well.

The participants preferred the countermeasures provision of uncontaminated fodder and production control to banning and disposal. The analysis showed that these countermeasures could be implemented even if the radionuclide concentrations in foodstuffs were below internationally recommended intervention levels. Banning and withdrawal of milk products from sale was not a favourable option, because of the high costs and disadvantages to producers and the industry, and because the disposal of enormous amounts of milk causes a considerable environmental problem. The study revealed the need to further develop methods to realistically assess the radiological and cost implications of food countermeasures. The feasibility and constraints of actions also need further investigation.

The experience gained strongly supports the format of a facilitated workshop to tackle a decision problem that concerns different stakeholders. The participants considered the workshop and the decision analysis very useful in exercises. They also expected a similar approach to be applicable in a real situation, although the suitability was not rated as high as for exercises. It is concluded that a facilitated workshop is a valuable instrument for emergency management and in exercises, when revising emergency plans or in order to identify issues that need to be resolved.