Protecting persons,
property and the environment
Protecting persons,
property and the environment

Table of Contents

Emergency Planning & Preparedness

A key component of the mission of the NNR is to ensure adequate protective actions are in place to protect the health and safety of the public. Protective actions are taken to avoid or reduce radiation dose and are sometimes referred to as protective measures. Operators of nuclear facilities are required to develop and maintain effective emergency plans and procedures. The NNR inspects licensees to ensure that they are prepared to deal with emergencies.

The overall objective of Emergency Preparedness (EP) is to ensure that the nuclear power plant operator is capable of implementing adequate measures to protect public health and safety in the event of a radiological emergency. As a condition of their license, nuclear installation licensees must develop and maintain EP plans that meet comprehensive NNR EP requirements. Increased confidence in public protection is obtained through the combined inspection of the requirements of emergency preparedness and the evaluation of their implementation.

The NNR maintains oversight of the capability of nuclear installation licensees to protect the public by conducting thorough inspections and it also assesses the capabilities of the licensees to protect the public by conducting full-scale exercises at least once every two years which includes the participation of government agencies and relevant roleplayers. These exercises are performed in order to maintain the skills of the emergency responders and to identify and correct weaknesses. The NNR also participates in periodic emergency drills which are conducted by the licensees.

Public Awareness about Emergency Preparedness

The NNR requires nuclear installation licensees to establish a public safety information forum for the purposes of sharing information on nuclear safety and emergency preparedness with members of the public. For this reason the Koeberg nuclear power station and the Necsa Pelindaba and Vaalputs sites convenes quarterly forums qhihc are attended by members of the public, the NNR and relevant roleplayers involved with emergency planning and response. The NNR hosts a VIP Observer programme which is attended by representatives from key stakeholder groups including civil society.

The Koeberg emergency plan

In modern societies it is necessary to plan for all eventualities – chemical, industrial, nuclear, and others and to ensure that if the unlikely occurs, everything possible is done to minimise damage and avoid injury. This is the major reason for having an emergency plan and the need for Disaster Management organisations. A very serious emergency at Koeberg could, at worst, result in a release of radioactive material. This radioactive material would be blown downwind from the station and dispersed.

A team consisting of members from Eskom, the local authorities, and other support organisations are available around the clock to handle any emergency at the power station. In the unlikely event of an emergency at Koeberg, Eskom will notify the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management immediately. Eskom will recommend appropriate protective actions to the relevant authorities. Representatives of National, Provincial and Local Government will authorise the appropriate protective actions to be implemented. Emergency response personnel and resources from all three spheres of government will carry out these actions.

There are three levels of emergency:

 1. Alert – the first level

An alert is declared when an event has occurred that could reduce the level of safety of the plant, but backup plant systems will still function. Local authority officials are notified and response facilities are established on a standby basis.

 2. Site emergency – the second level

In a site emergency, a problem with a safety system has occurred, or is likely to occur. Local authority officials are mobilised at this stage in preparation for the possibility of a more serious situation.

 3. General emergency – the third level

A general emergency is the most serious but most unlikely emergency situation. Radioactive material could be released beyond the plant site boundaries. Local authority officials will take action to protect residents living near the plant. People in affected areas will be advised via the public notification system to stay indoors and shelter or to evacuate.

5km radius area

If you live within 5km of the power station you will be warned immediately via the public notification system in the area. Evacuation instructions will be issued via the public notification system, Good Hope FM, Kfm and local SABC television channels. This area will be constantly monitored for radiation during a general emergency and suitable steps will be taken to protect you.

 16km radius area

It is highly unlikely that the entire area within the 16km radius surrounding Koeberg will be affected by a release of radioactive material during a general emergency. The radioactive material would travel downwind from the power station. This material will be monitored constantly and you will be warned if the area in which you live may be affected.

 Routine Siren Test

The sirens are routinely tested on an annual basis. You will be notified in advance of these tests. Kfm and Good Hope FM will also broadcast announcements whilst these tests are being conducted.

 The news media

At any level of emergency the news media will be fully informed by Eskom and the head of Disaster Management of the areas concerned.

  • Listen to your radio
  • If there is a General Emergency, the public notification system will be supplemented by regular instructions and messages on Good Hope FM 94-97 MHz and Kfm 94.5 MHz as well as on local SABC television channels. Tune in to the radio or television and listen for further instructions.
  • What should you do if you are instructed to shelter?
  • To shelter means staying indoors (inside a building). If you receive instructions to shelter, you should do the following (this could be at home, work or school):
  • Stay indoors until further notice.
  • Close all windows and doors to keep outside air out.
  • If you must go outside, protect your breathing. Place a damp cloth or towel over your nose and mouth.
  • Switch off systems that draw in outside air such as air-conditioning units, fire places and dampers.
  • Minimise use of the telephone – keep the phone lines open for emergency use only.
  • If you are in a car, close the windows and air vents and leave the affected area.
  • Be a good neighbour. If you see anyone outside, advise them to take shelter.
  • Do not try to pick up your children at school. Children who are in school during an emergency will be cared for until you are able to pick them up.
  • Inform and help the deaf and handicapped.
  • Don’t panic. Sheltering provides significant protection against radiation.
  • Keep listening to your radio for further instructions.
  • What should you do if you are instructed to evacuate?
  • You will only be instructed to evacuate if you could be affected by harmful levels of radiation. Evacuate means leaving the affected area immediately. Drive carefully. Go straight to the assembly point (as shown on the back page of this calendar) even if you plan to stay with family friends or at a hotel. You and your belongings will be checked for possible contamination.
  • Gather what you and your family will need. You will likely have to be away from home for a few days. Take these items along if you can:
    • Spectacles or prescription contact lenses;
    • A pillow, blankets and sheets, or a sleeping bag;
    • A small foam mattress;
    • Two changes of clothing including a jersey or coat;
    • Prescribed medicines;
    • It is not necessary to take any food, except special foods for medical reasons;
    • Toiletry items;
    • Cash, credit cards, cheque books, savings books, identity documents, etc;
    • A portable radio and batteries;
    • A torch and batteries;
    • The telephone numbers of close friends and/or family members.
  • Take all the normal precautions as if you were leaving the house for a holiday. Lock all outside doors, close windows, and arm your alarm if you have one.
  • Police will ensure the safety of your home while you are away. You will be notified by Disaster Management and the news media when you can return.

Travelling by car

If you have a car, you should use it if you are instructed to evacuate. If you can, take neighbours who don’t have transport with you. Follow the route given to you over the radio to travel to the assembly points shown on the back of this calendar. Refer to the Evacuation Routes Map in the centre of this calendar. Familiarise yourself with this map. Identify which zone your house is situated in, as well as where the nearest evacuation routes are to your home. Drive carefully, stay calm and obey all traffic regulations, for your own and others- safety. There will be traffic officers along the route to assist you. Traffic will be directed in order to avoid vehicles driving through the affected areas.

Travelling by bus

Specially arranged buses will transport you to the assembly points. They will travel along normal bus routes at regular intervals. If you do not have transport, please go to the nearest bus route, where you will be picked up. In areas where there are no bus routes, radio announcements will inform you of where to meet the special busses and taxis which will be operating in these areas.

Children at school

Your school-going children will be well cared for. Disaster Management personnel will be in constant contact with local schools. If necessary, scholars will be evacuated to another school outside the affected area, where arrangements will be in place to care for the children and keep them in contact with their parents/guardians.

Friends or family

If possible, please travel to friends or members of your family who live anywhere outside the affected areas.

Assembly points

If you cannot travel to family or friends outside the affected areas, you need to travel to an assembly point as shown on the back of this calendar. The location of this assembly point will be decided by factors such as the wind direction, and the availability of the assembly point on that particular day. From these points you will be directed to a mass care centre. Mass care centres will provide you with meals and a place to live while you are away from home. The sick and elderly will be cared for by trained medical staff, who will also be able to provide medicines. Note: potassium iodate tablets, which protect the thyroid against radioactive iodine will be provided by the Disaster Management organisations when and where necessary.

If a major incident happens at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, the Department of Agriculture will issue periodic information concerning the safety of using homegrown products.

 Your crops

  • An unharvested crop is hard to protect, but normal harvesting and processing may still be possible if time permits.
  • Crops already harvested will be safer if they are stored inside.
  • You should wash and peel vegetables and fruits from your garden before use if they were not already harvested.


To protect your livestock

  • Provide as much shelter as possible. If you do not have enough space in barns or sheds, use natural shelters such as wooded lots or culverts.
  • Take care of dairy animals first.
  • Provide plenty of food and water and make sure shelters are well ventilated.
  • Use stored feed where possible.
NECSA Emergency Procedure
  • Stay Calm
  • Go indoors (Staying indoors provides significant protection)
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Switch off air conditioners
  • Tune into Radio Jacaranda (94.2FM) or Motsweding (89.6-91FM) for instructions
  • Periodic announcements shall be made concerning the emergency status and actions that must be taken. If it is necessary to evacuate a specific area, an announcement stating the safest route shall be made
  • Only use the telephone if it is absolutely necessary since it may be necessary to contact you by telephone
  • Be a good neighbour. If you see anyone outdoors please advise him/her to take shelter
  • Help the deaf and disabled
  • If you are travelling by car at the time of the emergency close all your windows and air vents and leave the affected area


In case Necsa’s Telkom land lines are not working, please dial: 083 639 0366 / 082 806 3611

Please see this Emergency Procedure for instructions in other languages.

Emergency Preparedness FAQS

What is emergency planning and preparedness?

Emergency planning and preparedness is concerned with that sequence of events where the well-established standards, rules, regulations, and procedures governing the use of radioactive materials and the normal operation and maintenance of a facility are no longer being satisfied. It spans a somewhat uncharted area between the point of departure from controlled use and operation and the subsequent return to controlled conditions, a period during which compliance with normal rules may no longer be achievable and when it may be necessary to make emergency decisions in which the risks taken to avoid a particular adverse consequence must be balanced against those that might prevail if avoiding action were not taken.

For convenience we can summarize the two main aspects of emergency planning and preparedness under the following headings:

Radiological emergency planning, which is concerned with the development and preparation of emergency plans to mitigate the consequences to public health and safety, or to the environment, in the event of a radiological accident.

Radiological emergency preparedness, which encompasses the training of all persons who will be involved in implementing the emergency plans, the acquisition of resources and facilities, and the testing of emergency plans and procedures by means of drills and exercises to ensure effective response in the event of a radiological emergency.

The general objectives of emergency planning are to;

  • reduce the risk or mitigate the consequences of the accident at its source,
  • prevent serious deterministic health effects, and
  • reduce the likely stochastic health effects as much as reasonably achievable.
Who is responsible?

It is essential that effective emergency preparedness procedures, together with plans for their implementation, are drawn up by those organizations that will need to apply them and that they are prepared well in advance of the facility commencing operation, particularly those related to the facility operator’s organization. Similarly, and in consultation with the operating organization, those sections of the public authorities at local, regional, and national level who may need to respond in the event of an accident must ensure that they produce emergency preparedness arrangements appropriate to their own response commitments. The input from each of these participating organizations should then be integrated into an overall national emergency plan and response infrastructure. This is an essential prerequisite for ensuring that co-ordinated remedial actions can be taken in the unlikely event of an accident having potential offsite radiological consequences.


Emergency: A non-routine situation or event that necessitate prompt action, primarily to mitigate a hazard or adverse consequences for human health and safety, quality of life, property or the environment. This includes nuclear and radiological emergencies and conventional emergencies

Emergency Plan: A description of the objectives, policy and concept of operations for the response to an emergency and of the structure,

Emergency Preparedness: The capability to promptly take actions that will effectively mitigate the impact of an emergency on persons, property and the public

Emergency Response: The performance of actions to mitigate the impact of an emergency on persons, property and the environment

Exercise: An evaluation of major portions of emergency response capabilities. An exercise tests the integrated capability of the emergency response organisation, to identify weaknesses that could affect the emergency response to an actual emergency.

Nuclear Accident

Occurrence or succession of occurrences having the same origin and resulting in an unintended unauthorized exposure to radiation or release of radioactive material, which is capable of giving rise to an effective dose in excess of 1mSv to the public off-site in a year; or in excess of 50mSv to a worker on site received essentially at the same time of the event, is regarded as a nuclear accident as defined in section 1(xiii) of the Act.

Nuclear incident

Any unintended event which is reasonably capable of giving rise to an effective dose equal to or in excess of 0.1 mSv to the public off site essentially at the same time of the event, or the unintended spread of radioactive contamination or exposure to radiation, which could reasonably give rise to an effective dose in excess of 20mSv to a worker on site received essentially at the same time of the event, or significant failure of safety provisions, is regarded a nuclear incident as defined in section 1 (xvii) of the Act.


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P.O. Box 46055

Telephone: +27 (21) 553 9500

Regulatory Emergency Response Centre

Tel: +27 (12) 674 7120 (during response)

Fax: 086 742 6038


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