Irish nuclear emergency training exercise takes place

Move to ensure agencies prepared for scenarios in ‘highly unlikely’ event they occur

A training exercise to test the national response to a nuclear emergency was held on Thursday.

The exercise took place in the National Emergency Coordination Centre while the last such practice operation happened in 2017.

Systems and procedures outlined in the State’s National Plan for Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Exposures were practised during the exercise to ensure the Government and State agencies are prepared “to effectively manage the response to a range of potential scenarios”.

“Such exercises are crucial to ensure a co-ordinated response to emergencies, in the highly unlikely event that they occur,” the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications said in a statement on Friday.


The national plan details Ireland’s planning and preparedness for a national response to a major nuclear emergency and sets out the trigger points for the plan to be invoked, which would require the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) to be convened, chaired by the department.

These include notifications to Irish authorities of nuclear or radiological emergencies abroad.

“While an event of this nature is highly improbable, the Government is aware of the impact it could have on Irish households and businesses and is committed to ensuring that any such risks are minimised and that contingencies are addressed,” the department added.

“It is a statutory requirement that national nuclear emergency exercises are organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the last exercise taking place in 2017. Planning for this event commenced last year.”

The exercise follows on from others which were held earlier this month to test the response to a hypothetical disruption to Ireland’s energy supply.

Nuclear safety has risen in the international agenda with the ongoing Russian war on Ukraine amid ongoing concerns about the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine after shelling in and around the plant.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times