Donegal Civil Defence was called into action on Sunday morning when the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII)activated a National Call Out.
Donegal Civil Defence Officer, Edel Flynn, said: "The national call out requested the Civil Defence in each county to activate their personnel to take readings and samples in specific areas within their own county and await further instruction. At 9.30am our team was directed to go to the town lands of Donaghmore, Castlefin, Lisglack, Corovaddy and Drumnacarry to get a soil sample, a grass sample and a background radiation reading from each of the coordinates in the town lands selected using Graetz Meters."
The radiation readings and associated co-ordinates were transmitted directly from the site, via the TETRA Radio Communications system. The soil and grass samples were tagged, bagged and labelled as per the RPII guidelines and taken to Sligo for onward transportation to the national collection point of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.
The White Paper on Defence 2015 identifies radiation monitoring as one of the core services of Civil Defence. This has to be done both on a regional and national basis and involves the collection of samples, taking radiation readings and delivering such samples/data to the Environmental Protection Agency for further analysis.
In keeping with the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents, members of Donegal Civil Defence are trained in many disciplines such as communication procedures as well as in the reporting of radiation readings.