Information and communication in an emergency

Who does what during an accident?

In the event of a nuclear accident, the Crisis Cell and its component parts the Radiological Evaluation Cell and the Communication and Information Cell assume management of the crisis.

  • The Crisis Cell (Cellule de crise) heads the management of the crisis from start to finish. It is made up of the directors of several agencies involved in managing the consequences of an accident at a nuclear power station (the High Commissioner for National Protection, the National Health Directorate, the Rescue Services Agency, the Grand Ducal Police, the Armed Forces, etc.). In the event of an operational response on the ground, the Crisis Cell's mission extends to coordinating and monitoring the execution of all emergency measures. It can appoint an agency or department to coordinate operations on the ground. The Crisis Cell operates throughout the duration of the crisis until the situation returns to normal.
  • The mission of the Radiological Evaluation Cell (Cellule d’évaluation radiologique), made up of experts in radiation protection and civil protection, is to monitor changes to the situation at the damaged reactor, the scale and evolution of the radiation in the environment and the impact of this on the population and to provide information to the Crisis Cell.
  • The Communication and Information Cell (Cellule communication/information) is responsible for coordinating communication between the authorities and the population. It keeps the media and citizens informed of the changing situation as well as the preventive and protective measures decided by the Crisis Cell. The Communication and Information Cell is chaired by the Director of the Office for crisis communication.


Who informs the Luxembourg State that a nuclear accident has occurred?

The communication procedures to be implemented in the event of a nuclear accident at Cattenom are the subject of a bilateral agreement between Luxembourg and France. In the event of an accident, the manager of the Cattenom power station shall inform the Luxembourg authorities by means of the SELCA system, the System of exchange and liaison between Cattenom and the authorities (Système d’échange et de liaison entre Cattenom et les autorités), a network of dedicated telephone lines. The German Länder (states) that are located close to Cattenom (Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland) are also part of this system.

The manager of the Cattenom power station will first inform the Luxembourg Rescue Services Agency (Administration des services de secours).

The Rescue Services Agency will then send the information to the Radiological Evaluation Cell (Cellule d’évaluation radiologique) which will inform the High Commissioner for National Protection (Haut-Commissaire à la protection nationale). The latter will inform the Prime Minister who will then decide whether the Crisis Cell (Cellule de Crise) should be activated on the basis of a preliminary evaluation of the situation.

On a European level, the ECURIE alert system (European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange) enables Member States to exchange information in the event of a nuclear emergency. This computer system, with a star-like configuration, enables a State to launch an alert if a nuclear accident that could have cross-border consequences occurs at one of its power stations. ECURIE is based at the European Commission in Brussels.

Who informs the population in the event of a nuclear accident?

Communication between the authorities and the population is ensured by the Crisis Cell's Communication and Information Cell, chaired by the Director of the Office for crisis communication. The Communication Cell is assisted by experts in radiation protection.


All the information and instructions from the authorities will be communicated to the population via the media and the website


How will the population be alerted if a nuclear accident occurs?

The Luxembourg population will be alerted via the national siren network.  The emergency services in each commune will then trigger a specific siren.

According to the circumstances (direction and speed of wind, quantity of radioactive release...), the three signals are triggered in the regions, communes or localities affected.

The alarms are not automatically triggered throughout the entire national territory, only in the zones that are potentially under threat.

What does the nuclear accident alarm sound like?

To avoid confusion with the fire alarm (a continuous tone lasting three minutes), the siren triggered in the event of a nuclear emergency consists of three different signals: standby (preliminary alarm), the nuclear alarm and the all clear (end of the alarm).

Listen to the MP3 files to hear the siren sounds triggered in the event of a nuclear accident!


What should you do when the sirens sound?

When you hear the sirens you should enter or remain in a building (your home, work or elsewhere). Close the doors and windows and turn off all ventilation systems including heating and air conditioning. You do not need to go to a specific room like the cellar or attic, but instead stay away from doors and windows.

The radiation dose received inside a building is much lower than that received outside in the fresh air. By means of comparison, if the risk of irradiation is 100% outside a building when a radioactive cloud passes over, it is close to zero inside an enclosed building.

Make sure you have a radio, television and/or internet access.

Stay calm.

How will you know if radioactive substances have been released?

All the information and instructions from the authorities will be communicated to the population via the media and the website

What should you do if someone is injured during the alert?

An injury sustained during the alert is to be treated like any other injury.

In an emergency, call 112 and follow the instructions you are given.

Stay calm.

Can you make phone calls?

Yes. The population is advised to keep private calls to a minimum however, in order to ensure access to the emergency services.

If you need assistance, call the emergency services on 112 straight away.

Is it possible to help neighbours or people in distress?

Il est possible

  • de sortir pour s’assurer que les voisins ne manquent de rien en cas d’une éventuelle mise à l’abri ;
  • de venir en aide à des personnes en détresse. 

Par contre, pendant la période de mise à l’abri, il est fortement déconseillé de quitter le bâtiment dans lequel vous vous trouvez sans l’approbation des autorités, nonobstant le fait que vos proches ne soient pas avec vous.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, do not hesitate to contact us.


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