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Brussels, 29 August 2008

ECURIE ALERT: Belgian nuclear authorities alert the Commission about measures taken after releases of radioactive iodine

On 28 August at 23:31 the European Commission received an ECURIE alert notification from Belgium concerning a radiological incident in the Institut National de Radio-éléments (IRE) in Fleurus, Belgium. There had been a release of gaseous Iodine-131 from this facility. The incident had been classified Level 3 on the international INES scale (comprising 7 steps) on 26 August. On the basis of the analysis of environmental samples the Belgian authorities (Federal Agency for Nuclear Control) have now decided to implement protective actions, in particular restrictions on the consumption of local food produce (vegetables and milk), up to a distance of 5 km (sector North-East). In accordance with the ECURIE procedures the Commission immediately forwarded the alert notification to the ECURIE contact points in all Member States, Switzerland.

The European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE) system is the technical implementation of the Council Decision 87/600/Euratom on Community arrangements for the early notification and exchange of information in the event of a radiological or nuclear emergency. This 87/600 Council Decision requires from the ECURIE Member States that they promptly notify the European Commission (EC) and all the Member States potentially affected when they intend to take counter-measures if necessary in order to protect their population against the effects of a radiological or nuclear accident. The EC needs to immediately forward this notification to all Member States. Following this first notification, all Member States are required to inform the Commission at appropriate intervals about the measures they take and the radioactivity levels they have measured. All the 27 EU Member States as well as Switzerland and Croatia have signed the ECURIE agreement.

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