What to do - Radiological and nuclear

What to do?

Share what you know in your family, at school, with friends and colleagues: spreading information about radiological and nuclear risk is a collective responsibility to which we all must contribute.

Prevention has a crucial role in eliminating or mitigating the possible effects linked to radiological and nuclear risk, so:    

  • Learn more about the features and effects of radioactivity on health and the environment and the measures to be taken in the event of an emergency, also by consulting the section dedicated to radiological and nuclear risk on the institutional website of the Department of Civil Protection www.protezionecivile.gov.it, where the National Plan for the management of radiological and nuclear emergencies is available.
  • Please contact the Prefecture of your Province to learn about preventive and emergency information, considering the local planning on radiological and nuclear risk under the competence of the Prefect.  

During the emergency, follow the authorities' instructions (Civil Protection Department, Prefectures, Municipalities) through institutional channels (websites, social media profiles, hotline numbers) and stay informed through national and local media.
Authorities may indicate measures to follow, like indoor shelter and iodoprophylaxis (i.e., potassium iodide tablets intake) and restricting consumption of certain foods.  

Building walls can block most of the radioactivity. The indoor shelter indication can last approximately 48 hours.  


• reach an indoor location as soon as possible;
• make sure that those next to you are also safe: children, fragile people, and your pet;
• please do not pick up children at school unless otherwise directed by the school or the authority: they are already in a safe place.    


• check if there are any restrictions by the mayor on the consumption of drinking water and food; 
• do not eat food exposed to the outdoors, especially products from vegetable gardens;    
• do not leave your home or place of work;  
• close doors and windows;    
• turn off air conditioning systems and outdoor air intake systems;   
• close fireplaces, if possible;  
• move to a basement, if possible;  
• use the telephone or cell phone only if strictly necessary;  
• if you must go outside, do not leave body parts uncovered, and wear a mask, cap, and gloves.     

If you re-enter your home or other building:

• remove your clothes and shoes; 
• place clothes in a plastic bag and seal it tightly;   
• place the bag far from people and animals or in a separate room to avoid radioactive contamination;   
• take a shower and wash the body with soap and water, especially exposed parts such as hair and hands;  
• if a shower is impossible, still wash the eyes, ears, and mouth with soap and water within a few minutes of contact. Just water on the body is not enough;   
• be careful not to irritate or injure the skin by washing;  
• wear clean clothes.

In the case of major accidents at nuclear plants near the Italian border and only for specific age groups and specific population groups, public health authorities may mandate the intake of potassium iodide tablets (iodoprophylaxis) to protect the thyroid gland. Otherwise, taking potassium iodide may be unnecessary and harmful. Remember, the administration of tablets is activated based on the criteria set by the National Plan for managing radiological and nuclear emergencies.  

  •  Do not purchase potassium iodide tablets in advance or on your initiative whose sale is restricted.   
  • Follow the indications of the authorities managing the emergency through their official channels.  

Authorities may place precautionary bans on the consumption, production, and marketing of local foods. Stay informed about the instructions given on food and drink consumption, which may concern:  

  • the exclusive consumption of packaged foods, protected from radioactivity, whose food chain is traceable;  
  • the ban on the consumption of goods from local gardens or fresh vegetables;  
  • the ban on the consumption of milk;   
  • the restrictions established by municipal ordinances or notices on drinking water consumption usually drunk at home.

Food measures disposed of during the passage of the cloud can also be expected afterward, for an extended period, and may change over time as the situation evolves. Therefore, keep checking institutional channels to stay updated on the indications provided by the authorities even during the return to ordinary life.