Commission builds stockpiles for chemical, biological and nuclear emergencies
The European Commission announced Wednesday it is building up its strategic stockpiles to improve the bloc’s preparedness for chemical, biological and radio-nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
The €540.5 million rescEU stockpile will include medicines, equipment and vaccines to treat people exposed to these emergencies, and was established with the Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
As part of the stockpiling strategy, the Commission is also developing a decontamination reserve which will include both staff and equipment necessary for decontamination after an exposure to CBRN agents.
The announcement comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to fighting around the country’s nuclear power plants, risking damage that could cause a release of dangerous radiation. President Vladimir Putin has also put Moscow’s strategic missile arsenal on alert, raising fears of nuclear escalation.
“We are taking concrete measures to increase Europe’s preparedness in the face of potential threats. We are setting up both a decontamination reserve and a new stockpile of equipment tailored to chemical, biological or nuclear emergencies,” Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said. “Our aim is to provide rapid response capabilities for our citizens if such an emergency ever occurs.”
The European Union mobilized its rescEU medical reserve to procure potassium iodide tablets, with almost 3 million tablets having been delivered to Ukraine via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission said in a statement.