A nuclear disaster drill was conducted on Friday in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat to improve local authorities’ ability to respond to future mishaps such as a radiation leak in Vietnam’s largest nuclear research hub.
Thirteen units were involved in the large-scale drill headed by the administration of Lam Dong Province where Da Lat is located.
The hypothetical emergency was a traffic accident between a passenger bus and a specialized vehicle transporting two sealed radioactive sources of Iridium-192.
Prolonged leakage of Iridum-192 could pose severe health risks to local residents, who could develop cancer or even die from overexposure to the radioactive material, according to the drill’s script.
Lam Dong’s emergency nuclear response team, which is composed of experts from Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute, the local fire department, and the local traffic police force, took part in taking exposed victims to hospital and relocating the radioactive source to an isolated area.
Decontamination works were carried out afterwards to make sure no residues of the harmful radioactive isotope remains exposed.
Da Lat is home to Vietnam’s largest hub of scientific research in the fields of biotechnology and nuclear physics, with as many as 23 units dealing with equipments containing radioactive sources.
A nuclear reactor with a capacity of 500 kW is located inside Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute, where up to 900 radioactive sources are in use.
Photos of the nuclear disaster drill in Da Lat, Lam Dong Province on January 26, 2018: