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20 years after Chernobyl – Isle of Man Government maintains a Contingency Plan for a Nuclear Incident 30 March 2006

    Isle of Man Government Environment Minister, John Rimington MHK, is fully committed to maintaining his Department’s Contingency Plan for response to a future nuclear accident affecting the Isle of Man, in a similar way to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The Environment Department is responsible for maintaining a Civil Nuclear Incident Plan which is intended to be used in a situation where there is a low level of radioactive contamination, having no direct impact on human health. In such an eventuality, it would still be important to safeguard Manx agriculture and the local food chain. The Environment Department would therefore co-ordinate a response with other relevant Departments such as Agriculture – as was the case following the Chernobyl accident in April 1986.

    The radioactive plume from Chernobyl reached the Isle of Man late on the 2nd of May 1986. Heavy rain the following day resulted in considerable deposition of radioactive particles which resulted in the persistent contamination of hill land. Legal restrictions on sheep farming were subsequently introduced. The Isle of Man has been completely free of that Chernobyl contamination since the autumn of 2000 when Tynwald revoked the legal restrictions.

    Environment Minister, John Rimington, commenting on his Department’s Contingency Plan for a future accident causing widespread radioactive contamination across the British Isles said:

    “A Civil Nuclear Incident Plan is maintained by my Department and its purpose is to put us in a better position to respond, if there was to be a repeat of a Chernobyl type accident. Hopefully the Isle of Man will never need to implement such a plan. Certainly the UK Nuclear Industry will give us strong reassurances that an accident at Sellafield will never affect us. However, in my opinion, the Island’s experience following Chernobyl makes contingency planning essential.”

    30th March 2006

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