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War in Ukraine

Current information on civil protection

Due to the war in Ukraine, the Federal Office of Civil Protection (FOCP) as well as the cantonal and municipal authorities are faced with numerous enquiries from citizens. Current information about civil protection can be found on this page.

Currently, the population is not required to take any special measures.

Radiological situation

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and is in constant contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). As the responsible authority and alerting agency for Switzerland, the NEOC receives official information from the IAEA.

  • Chernobyl nuclear power plant
    According to the IAEA, an emergency shutdown of a 750 kV line occurred on 9 March 2022. As a result, all facilities at the Chornobyl NPP were shut down. Emergency diesel generators were switched on site to supply power to systems critical to safety. According to the IAEA, the disconnection from the grid will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located, as the volume of cooling water in the spent fuel facility is sufficient to maintain heat removal without a supply of electricity. The Ukrainian authorities informed the IAEA on 13 March 2022, that Ukrainian specialist teams had succeeded in repairing a power line needed to resume external electricity supplies. The Ukrainian authorities informed the IAEA on 20 March 2022 that the staff at the Chornobyl NPP had finally been able to rotate. Regarding the wildfires near the Chornobyl NPP, the IAEA is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities. The local fire brigade has already been able to extinguish some fires. The situation in the exclusion zone of the Chornobyl NPP is being closely monitored.
  • Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
    During the night of 3 and 4 March 2022, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine came under fire from artillery shells, which caused a blaze on the site of the facility. The fire was extinguished. The safety of the facility was not compromised.

Shelters

Switzerland has about 365’000 private and public shelters in total, offering shelter places for about 9 million residents, which corresponds to a coverage rate of over 100 percent.

In everyday life, shelters are mainly used for other purposes, for instance as basement rooms, as storage spaces or as clubhouses. If necessary, they can quickly be prepared to serve as shelters for the population. However, preparing the shelters, i.e., clearing them out and furnishing them, is only to be done by order of the authorities. The shelters are designed to enable shorter or longer stays (from a few hours to several days).

With regard to the current situation, preparation for staying in shelters is not necessary. The cantons are responsible for carrying out and updating the allocation planning. However, a public announcement of the allocation is only made when the security situation requires it.

  • You can find answers to frequently asked questions about shelters in Switzerland here.

Emergency provisions

The general public should be prepared to feed itself for a period of several days without outside assistance. Therefore, the National Economic Supply (NES) organization recommends storing sufficient emergency provisions for about one week. Emergency provisions should include mainly storable foodstuffs and nine liters of water per person as well as the most important medicines.

Information, warning and alerts

In the event of real danger, the authorities will alert the population with sirens and announce instructions via radio broadcasts and Alertswiss. The FOCP recommends that the Alertswiss alarm app be installed on smartphones.

Iodine tablets

The ingestion of iodine tablets as a protective measure by the Swiss population is mainly envisaged in cases where radioactive iodine is released during an accident in a power plant in Switzerland or in a neighbouring country. Iodine tablets do not offer protection against all radioactive elements, but only against the harmful effects of radioactive iodine on the thyroid gland. In the case of an event, iodine tablets must be ingested in a timely manner. They inhibit the thyroid gland from accumulating radioactive iodine and prevent thyroid cancer.

In communities within 50 kilometres of Swiss nuclear power plants, iodine tablets are distributed as a precautionary manner to all people who spend time there on a regular basis. In these communities, iodine tablets are also stored in pharmacies and drugstores and can, in case of loss, be purchased there at a price of CHF 5.00. In areas outside of a 50-kilometer radius around Swiss nuclear power plants, the cantons store iodine tablets for distribution to the entire population in the case of an incident. Currently, private citizens outside of this zone do not need to keep stores of iodine tablets.

With respect to the current situation, there is no scenario under which the distribution or consumption of iodine tablets would be necessary. Given the considerable distance between Switzerland and Ukraine, it is unlikely that the iodine tablets will be needed in Switzerland. 

Activities of the Federal Office of Civil Protection (FOCP)

  • As part of the FOCP, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and is in constant contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). As the responsible authority and alerting agency for Switzerland, the NEOC receives official information from the IAEA, including on the situation regarding the nuclear power plants in Ukraine. The NEOC operates its own radioactivity monitoring network (NADAM). This consists of 76 sensors distributed throughout Switzerland, which transmit the measured values to the NEOC in ten-minute intervals. If a certain threshold value (1000 nanosievert per hour [nSv/h]) is breached, the alarm is automatically raised at the NEOC. This alert will activate the NEOC emergency response team, which will subsequently contact its counterparts to verify the reported breach. In this way, the NEOC can monitor the radiological situation around the clock.
  • After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Resources Management at Federal Level (ResMaB) was integrated into the humanitarian aid operations of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and tasked with coordinating the material aid offered by the cantons, hospitals, industry and other institutions. The aim is to transport relief supplies to the affected area in a needs-oriented manner. This requires precise coordination, as the needs within Ukraine must be continuously compared with the existing supply. The transport and detailed distribution of goods in the conflict area is currently challenging due to the difficulty of gaining access.

Last update: 24 March 2022


Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern

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Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP

Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern