The Port of Southampton Off-Site Reactor Emergency Plan 'SOTONSAFE' is a requirement of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001. The Plan replaces the previous SOTONSAFE documents and interfaces with the Operator's Emergency Plan produced by the MoD.
The aim of the Plan is to include automatic and pre-planned response actions to mitigate the consequences of an accident involving a nuclear powered vessel within the Port of Southampton. In addition the plan involves the establishment of the required command, control and liaison organisation, at the local and national level, capable of the successful implementation of these early measures. This organisation allows consideration, by all relevant authorities, of the later follow-on and recovery aspects of the accident for which detailed pre-planning is not considered appropriate.
In the very unlikely event of a reactor emergency in the Port of Southampton, the general public will be advised of actions to take by the Local Authority. A Tactical Command Centre will be set up, normally on the ground floor of the Southampton City Council offices at Soutbrook Rise. The Tactical Command Centre will provide the local point for command and Control and will use the media and a help line to issue information and advice.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the weather conditions prevailing at the time, there may be a need to implement one or more countermeasures in 3 x 15' sectors downwind of the accident site. The contingency plans make provision for ensuring that those members of the general public to whom such countermeasures may apply are advised promptly.
The measures that may be taken include:
- Remaining indoors with windows and doors closed to provide shelter from any radioactive cloud that may have been released.
- The administration of Potassium Iodate tablets to be taken orally to prevent the uptake of radioactive Iodine by the thyroid gland.
- Restrictions on the use of fresh foods and dairy products to prevent the ingestion of any radioactive material.
- Temporary relocation or evacuation from area where radioactive material may have been deposited.
The Plan is regularly reviewed, particularly before a visit of a nuclear powered vessel. Additionally, it is a PEPPIR requirement that the plan is exercised and reviewed at least every three years.