Climate change and safety implications
In modern times, assessing the impact of climate change on the vulnerability of radiological practices is necessary to implement risk management policies and secure facilities.
Global warming goes hand in hand with increasing instances of climate-related natural disasters such as storms, droughts, floods, and rainfalls. The effects of climate change, beyond having a tremendous impact on ecosystems, are also remarkable risk factors for anthropogenic systems (some examples include infrastructure, agriculture, and tourism).
In Europe, flooding events have increased in the last few years, particularly in the Mediterranean region, which has a high climatic risk because of its complex orography and the presence of human activities.
In the European Physical Journal Plus, G. M. Contessa et al. analyze the influence of climate change on human activities involving ionizing radiation in Italy. Sources of these actions include the healthcare sector, which makes large use of radioactive substances for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, and industrial activities, such as gamma radiography, well-logging, lightning rods, and the transport and repository of radioactive material. The authors delineate the strategies necessary for inclusion in safety and emergency plans, and assess the risk related to extreme weather events.
The researchers assess that the risk depends on the probability of occurrence of a weather event, the tendency of the facility to be damaged by critical phenomena, and the severity of the consequences.
With this study, they provide a powerful tool to better evaluate the risk assessment for areas that have experienced a disastrous increment of flooding events in the past few years and where, consequently, major attention is needed to secure the ecosystem and all life forms.
By: Lisa Scalone, Springer