SAMÖ 2011 – A Major Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Exercise with Tragic Relevance

Leif Stenke MD PhD
Associate Professor
Centre of Research & Development for Radiation Emergency Medicine (KcRN)
Karolinska Institute & University Hospital
Stockholm Sweden


SAMÖ-KKÖ 2011 is a major Swedish exercise aiming to test society’s capacity for dealing with the consequences of a serious nuclear power emergency. The exercise, involving approximately 3000 persons in 40 Swedish organizations at all levels of society, was conducted over three phases between February and April 2011, with a planned final follow-up and evaluation during late 2011. The simulated scenario started with an emergency, including a fire, at a nuclear power plant in the southeast of Sweden, resulting in disruption of services and fall-out of radioisotopes. The short-term and long-term consequences of the emergency were extensive with large parts of society being affected, and as a direct result also many critical infrastructure services – both in the public and private sectors. Medical issues involved decisions on prophylactic iodine intake, evacuation of groups of the population and the management of three firemen with signs of acute radiation syndrome. Selected experiences and lessons learnt will be presented.  The relevance of the SAMÖ2011 exercise was drastically underlined, within only a month of its initiation, by the tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunami and power plant emergency in Japan.