According to the Ministry of Health (MOZ), the risk of exposure to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation from an explosion at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plan (ZNPP) is low in Kyiv; furthermore, that the most important things are to stay indoors and follow official instructions.

The MOZ and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published more detailed advice on what to do in areas closer to the ZNPP site.

To reassure residents within the capital, Minister of Health Viktor Liashko said: “Kyiv will not feel the consequences of a nuclear explosion at the [ZNPP] if the Russians dare to carry out this terrorist attack.” In an interview with My-Ukraine, he said that “Kyiv is outside the influence limit.”

Liashko said the MOZ had developed and checked notification systems that would work in the event of an explosion in case of such situations. Additionally, the MOZ has worked out an evacuation plan for the 30-50 km radius, which is of greatest concern around the plant.

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Nevertheless, the risk of a terrorist attack by Russia’s aggressor state at the temporarily occupied ZNPP remains high. Liashko said that it was currently impossible to predict the strength of the explosion that Russians could perpetrate at the ZNPP.

Just in case, be prepared

In the interest of ensuring everyone is prepared, whether residing in or traveling to the area of concern around the ZNPP, or if the potential disaster turns out to be worse than anticipated for the Kyiv area, Kyiv Post would like our readers to be familiarized with instructions you would be likely to receive.

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In our research, Kyiv Post assembled published advice from the MOZ and WHO on what to do in the event of a radiation accident.

Here is a summary of MOZ and WHO notes, guidelines and tips

The MOZ notes that nuclear-strategic facilities are built to withstand significant physical damage, and each region constantly monitors the radiation background.

In the event of a radiation accident, detailed instructions will be disseminated through the information channels of the State Emergency Service and local authorities. The most important thing is to stay indoors or go indoors urgently if you are outside.

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Stay in a shelter

It could be a basement or any other closed room because radioactive material settles on the outside of buildings. Keep pets close and do not let them walk outside. If possible, stay in a room without windows or exterior doors, and close all windows and doors. Seal openings with improvised means (tape, wet cloth, etc.) and turn off ventilation systems (air conditioners or heaters) in the house or building. Stay sheltered until instructed otherwise by official authorities.

“The risk of developing adverse health effects depends on the dose of exposure. The higher the dose, the higher the risk of adverse effects. If the exposure dose is low or if exposure occurs over a long period of time, the risk is much lower because the human body repairs damaged cells and molecules,” according to the WHO.

Follow official sources of information

Use messages from State Emergency Services (DSNS), rescuers, the police, and local authorities, turn on the television and radio, and follow official information channels. Subscribe to and follow such official government services’ channels on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter and other information and social media sites.

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Disinfect yourself

Remove the top layer of clothing, as this will remove up to 90 percent of the radioactive material but be very careful not to shake up the radioactive dust. Place the clothing in a plastic bag or airtight container and keep it away from people and pets.

Wash if possible

Take a shower with soap and shampoo, but don't use hair conditioners because they can fix radioactive material on your hair. Do not rub or scratch the skin, as radioactive material may enter open wounds.

If you can’t take a shower, wash your hands, face and exposed body parts with soap under running water. If there’s no access to water, use wet wipes or a wet cloth, paying special attention to hands and face, and wipe eyelids, eyelashes, and ears.

Put on clean clothes

Help your relatives and loved ones to perform the above actions. If possible, do it in gloves and a mask or respirator.

Water and food safety

Only bottled water should be considered safe (not contaminated) until rescuers or authorities report that tap water is safe. Boiling tap water does not rid it of radioactive substances.

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Drinks in the refrigerator are also safe for consumption. Water in other containers in your home, such as the toilet or water heater, will not contain radioactive substances. Tap or well water can be used to wash yourself and food and water packs.

Even if the tap water is contaminated, you can still use it for disinfection. Any radioactive material that enters surface or groundwater should be diluted with water to a very low level and will be safe to wash off skin, hair and clothing.

Food products are safe if stored in airtight containers (cans, bottles, boxes, etc.). Food from the refrigerator and freezer is also safe.

Wipe food containers with a damp cloth or clean towel before opening them. Do the same with kitchen utensils before use. Place the used cloth or towel in a plastic bag or airtight container and leave it in a place inaccessible to people and animals.

Do not self-administer potassium iodide

Potassium iodide does not protect people from radiation but only protects the thyroid gland from exposure to radioactive iodine. It is inadvisable to take it in advance unnecessarily. Potassium iodide should only be taken if you have been instructed to do so by the authorities or the State Emergency Services (DSNS).

Kyiv Post has published another piece on this topic, titled What Happens to Kyiv if the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant Blows? Officials Downplay Concerns.

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