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Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze visits BfS in Neuherberg
Radiation cannot be tasted, seen or felt – but protection against it is absolutely necessary. To find out how and to what degree, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze visited the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) on 27 August 2018.
At the BfS offices in Neuherberg near Munich, she learned about emergency nuclear protection and protection against ultraviolet radiation as part of her summer trip through Bavaria.
Emergency protection: Radiological Situation Centre
Emergency protection example: The Federal Office for Radiation Protection and the Federal Environment Ministry have taken comprehensive precautions to enable quick and effective action in a nuclear emergency. In the BfS Alert Room, Schulze gained an overview of the federal government's Radiological Situation Centre (RLZ), in which the BfS plays a significant role.
The RLZ is a crisis team led by the Federal Environment Ministry, which comes together in the event of any accident with wide-reaching radiological consequences. In a crisis, the RLZ provides participating authorities with a summary of all available information about the accident and the existing and expected effects on the environment. The overview compiled by BfS experts forms the basis for measures to protect the population.
Radioactivity measurement from the air
To compile this overview in an emergency, wide-reaching radioactivity measurements are required, for example from the air. The Federal Environment Minister learned about aero-gamma spectrometry with the assistance of a specially equipped federal police helicopter.
With sensitive measurement technology, radioactive substances in the soil can be measured quickly and effectively from the helicopter. At its sites in Neuherberg and Berlin, the BfS keeps two of this type of measurement system ready for use and carries out regular exercises jointly with the federal police.
UV protection: Expansion of UV measurement network underway
UV protection example: At her visit to Neuherberg, Schulze announced a new expansion of the UV measurement network to improve the protection of the population against cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.
Across Germany and jointly with the Federal Environment Agency, the German Metrological Service and other authorities, the BfS maintains a network of 12 measurement stations that measure UV radiation from the sun. These measurements are compiled into the UV Index in the measurement network office in Neuherberg.
Explaining UV exposure to the population
By the end of 2019, this measurement network is to be expanded with 20 further stations. The aim is to better inform the population about prevailing UV exposure in Germany.
Against a backdrop of rising numbers of cancer illnesses and increasing UV exposure as a result of climate change, the BMU and the BfS are advocating better explanation of the risks to the general public.
State of 2018.08.27