The evaluation of the rehabilitation strategies implemented in the contaminated territories of the CIS countries affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe pointed out the need and importance to involving the population in the day-to-day management of the radiological situation to complete the rehabilitation programme implemented by public authorities. The ETHOS experience in Belarus has revealed that to be effective and sustainable, this involvement must rely on the dissemination of a practical radiological protection culture within all segments of the population and especially within professionals in charge of public health.
The objective of the SAGE Project is to contribute to the development of strategies and guidance for implementing and disseminating such a culture in Western Europe, in case of a nuclear incident or accident with long-term radiological consequences. The main output of the project is expected to be a handbook on radiation monitoring and protection. This will include comprehensive guidance for the health care professionals and the general population on practical advice to follow in a contaminated territory in order to avoid unnecessary exposures in the course of day-to-day activities and to adopt a responsible and prudent attitude with regard to the protection of health.
The SAGE Project will essentially be developed by drawing the lessons from the feedback experience of the day-to-day management of the radiological situation by professionals and local populations living in the contaminated territories during the last fifteen years in Belarus. The practicability of the proposed strategies and guidance will be evaluated by "stakeholders panels" involving professionals from the public health area (nurses, midwives, medical doctors, radiation protection experts, medical social workers, NGOs
) both in the contaminated territories of Belarus and in the three Member States. A European Workshop will be organised close to the end of the Project with all interested parties. This workshop will allow to present to a wide audience the findings of the project, to discuss ways to implement concretely the strategies and guidance and to prepare recommendations for further possible developments at the European level.
The partnership of the Project is composed of 5 teams of researchers from the following institutions: BB RIR (the Brest Branch of the Research Institute of Radiology - Belarus), BELRAD Institute (Belarus), CEPN (France), GSF (Germany) and NRPB (United Kingdom). The consortium also benefits from the active cooperation of IRSN and the Chernobyl Committee of Belarus. The expertise of this work group covers mainstream disciplines such as radiation protection (including public health issues), dose and risk assessment, dosimetry (including measurements of foodstuffs and internal exposures), radioecology, environmental monitoring, economics, social management of risk, countermeasures after accidents, regulation and risk policies.
The SAGE Project started in October 2002 and lasted in March 2005.