At the EU level, there are several networks that integrate national monitoring and forecasting systems and allow rapid, coordinated responses to radiological emergencies by sharing real-time data. These are:
Shortly after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, the European Union set up the European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE) system to make early-notification and reliable radiological information available to EU Member States in case of nuclear accidents. The legal basis for participation in ECURIE is the EU Council Decision 87/600/Euratom. ECURIE is operated by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy. In the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency, information is share between countries using the WebECURIE system.
Each Member State has its own radiation-monitoring system or network which usually covers its whole territory. The density of radioactivity measuring points is variable – from several, uniformly distributed over the territory to hundreds of measuring stations, with increased density close to nuclear installations. EURDEP makes radiological monitoring data from most European countries available on a routine daily basis – and in close to real-time in emergencies. To achieve this, EU Member States, and other European countries which are members of EURDEP, send their data to EURDEP on a daily basis from at least one territorial radiation-monitoring network (some countries have more than one). The EURDEP system makes this radiological data available via a web page.
The EURDEP and ECURIE systems are complementary to the IAEA's EMERCON notification arrangements for radiological or nuclear emergencies and its USIE (Unified System of Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies) information sharing system.
As the Chernobyl emergency demonstrated, the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere is a transnational issue. Winds will carry these materials into the atmosphere where they can disperse across borders and continents. The national monitoring systems linked through EURDEP can detect and track the movement of radioactive releases – but national systems differ in the atmospheric dispersion models they employ and the resulting forecasts. The ENSEMBLE
platform ensures a common coherent strategy across European national emergency management efforts. It makes use of new decision-making procedures and web-based tools for real-time reconciliation and harmonisation of dispersion forecasts from meteorological and emergency centres across Europe during an accident.