Managing the Risk of Radioactive Contamination in Food – MRRCF

 9th – 20th June 2014, London, United Kingdom

The primary focus of the MRRCF training-workshop is radiological protection, i.e. reducing exposure of humans to radiation.

However, experience from past contamination events, particularly the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, has shown that the consequences of widespread and long-lasting contamination are complex and multi-dimensional. Radiological protection should be considered as only one part of the problem, especially where agricultural production and food supply is concerned. It has been recognised that, to be efficient and sustainable, the management of consequences of radioactive contamination must take into account other dimensions of living conditions - economic, social, cultural, ethical, etc. Consequently, many recent projects within the areas affected by Chernobyl deposition have taken these additional factors into account.

MRRCF addresses aspects that go beyond those of radiological protection, and therefore the overall aim of the this training-workshop is to increase the coherence of emergency preparedness and management of contaminated food, following accidental or deliberate releases of radionuclides to the environment.

Objectives of MRRCF training-workshop

This training-workshop provides a useful basis for various applications at local, national, regional and international level. Therefore it has been developed to meet several inter-related objectives:

  1. To provide up-to-date information on management options for reducing the consequences of contamination of the food-chain
  2. To outline the many factors that influence the implementation of these options
  3. To illustrate how to select and combine management options and so build a recovery strategy
  4. To provide background information on the rationale underpinning radiological protection of the food-chain
  5. To provide background information on the sources and behaviour of radionuclides in the food-chain
  6. To provide examples of techniques for involving stakeholders in managing contamination of the food-chain
  7. To elaborate plans and/or frameworks for the management of contaminated food production systems at the local, national or regional level

Sources of contamination considered in MRRCF training-workshop: nuclear accidents leading to the release of a wide range of possible radionuclides.

MRRCF training-workshop:

Food systems covered by the MRRCF training-workshop included:

  • Crop production and products (e.g. Cereals: wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize)
  • Industrial crops (e.g. oil seeds, pulses, sugar beet etc.)
  • Vegetables and horticultural crops (e.g. roots, tubers, leafy, legumes, salad and root vegetables)
  • Fruit (e.g. grapes, berries, citrus, olives, apples, etc)
  • Animal production and products (e.g. meat: beef, sheep, lamb, poultry)
  • Fish (salt and freshwater)
  • Milk and other dairy products (e.g. cow, sheep, goat)
  • Domestic produce (e.g. Fruit vegetables, chicken, eggs, honey)

Contents of MRRCF training-workshop:

A- Scientific and technical information to support a management strategy

  • Concepts in radiation protection
  • Sources of artificial radionuclides
  • Transfer and accumulation of radionuclides in agricultural food products
  • Impact of radionuclide contamination on food production systems
  • Assessing contamination of the food-chain through modelling and measurement

B- Factors influencing implementation of management options

  • Role and importance of governance issues
  • Time- and space-related issues
  • Effectiveness of management options
  • Radiological impact
  • Waste disposal issues
  • Societal and ethical aspects
  • Environmental impact
  • Economic cost of management options
  • Information and communication issues

C- Constructing a management strategy

  • Applicability of management options for situations involving different radionuclides
  • Applicability of waste disposal options for situations involving different radionuclides
  • Applicability of management options with respect to scale of contamination of food products
  • Management options incurring an incremental dose to implementers
  • Applicability of management options based on stakeholder opinion
  • Selection tables and selection trees


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