Open Access

Table 1

Overview of the case studies analysed and the applied method.

Country Year Case description INES scale Method
Belgium 2008 Accidental release of radioactive iodine from a facility producing radioisotopes for medical use, located in Fleurus, Belgium
The release of radioactive iodine occurred during the waste transfer within the facility. The release went unnoticed for several days causing delay in communication. Temporary protective actions directed at the population with regard to consumption of food from their own gardens were taken, and medical examinations of thyroid were offered
3 Document analysis, media analysis (Na = 361)a, semi-structured interviews (Np = 15)b
Spain 2007 Accidental release of radioactive particles with activated corrosion product isotopes from Ascó I Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Tarragona, Spain.
The release was initiated by an operational incident but went unnoticed for four months. A wide monitoring program had to be established to check over 2700 persons, both workers and visitors that were at the plant during this period of time, including a school group
2 Document analysis, media analysis (Na = 275), semi-structured interviews (Np = 23)
France 2008 Uranium leak in the Socastri plant, carrying out treatments of nuclear effluents coming from the AREVA facilities, at the Tricastin nuclear site
Overflow from a storage tank containing uranium effluents caused discharge into the surrounding rivers. Temporary restrictive actions on water use and consumption had to be established. Environmental surveillance programs implemented after the accident clearly showed that there was no persistent pollution linked to the uranium discharge of Socatri factory. However, the results reinforced the presence of former uranium contamination in the groundwater, which was detected by an environmental study already underway and not directly linked with the Socatri incident
1 Document analysis, media analysis (Na = 34)
Norway 2016 Iodine release at the research reactor in Halden, Norway
Unintended release of radioactive iodine occurred during handling of test fuel. There was a 20-hour delay in reporting of the accident to the responsible authorities. The release was small, however, it unleashed a wave of conspiracy articles about a reactor meltdown in Norway several months later
1 Document analysis, media analysis (Na = 46)
Slovenia 2008 The Unusual Event at the NPP Krško, Slovenia
A leakage from the primary system to containment was detected at the Krško nuclear power plant. Investigations showed that the event had no important safety indications and it was classified at level 0 of the INES scale. However, it produced an extreme and enormous response and coverage in the media in almost all EU countries
0 Document analysis, media analysis (Na = 207).
Norway 1986 Retrospective analysis of the decision-making in Norway after the Chernobyl accident
Norway was one of the countries outside of the Soviet Union that was heavily contaminated by the Chernobyl accident. Norway had no nuclear preparedness system at the time. There was confusion regarding who is responsible for handling the response and lack of coordination between the different actors which led to delays in communication and information to the population. A range of countermeasures had to be implemented in the food production chain
7 Document analysis
Japan 2011 A study of citizen science in Japan after the Fukushima accident
In the wake of the accident, networks of citizens measuring radiation were established. This case analysed to what extent bottom-up engagement can help to cope with scientific and social uncertainties
7 Document analysis, semi-structured interviews (Np = 12), and participatory observation (6 weeks)

Na – number of newspaper articles analysed.


Np – number of persons interviewed.

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