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Donegal Civil Defence take part in National Radiation Monitoring Exercise


Radiation Testing


Donegal Civil Defence was called into action at 8am last Sunday morning when the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) activated a National Call Out.


It requested the Civil Defence in each county to get their personnel to take readings and samples in specific areas within their own county and await further instruction.


An hour later the team was directed to go to the town lands of Goland, Meencargagh, Townawilly, Barnesmore between Ballybofey and Donegal Town and tasked with getting a soil sample, a grass sample and a background radiation reading from each of the coordinates in the town lands selected using Graetz Meters.


The radiation readings and associated co-ordinates were transmitted directly from the site, via the TETRA Radio Communications system using the following methods:


  • Verbally to Civil Defence Headquarters, Ratra House, Dublin on the Tetra Civil Defence National Talk Group giving the Latitude/Longitude coordinates;


  • Also, utilising the Texting Facility on the TETRA radios, the readings and co-ordinates were transmitted to the designated RPII numbers;


  • The Radiation readings and the location co-ordinates were also transmitted to the Civil Defence College, Roscrea via the Tetra Civil Defence Regional Talk Group and


  • Via the Civil Defence SMS text messaging system, to Civil Defence Branch Headquarters for collation.


The correctly taken soil and grass samples were correctly tagged, bagged and labelled as per the RPII guidelines and taken to Sligo for onward transportation to the national collection point of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII).


Donegal Civil Defence Officer, Edel Flynn said she was happy with their response to the exercise.


“It may not be something people would automatically associate with our organisation but the White Paper on Defence 2015 recognises that one of the core services of Civil Defence is to maintain and further develop its capacity for radiation monitoring. This has to be done both on a national or regional basis and involves collecting samples, taking radiation readings and delivering such samples/data to the Environmental Protection Agency for further analysis,” she said.


She added her members of Donegal Civil Defence were trained in many disciplines such as communication procedures as well as in the reporting of radiation readings.


“The Radiation Service has a number of important and specific functions under the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents and we are happy to be tested in exercises such as this.”


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