Mass evacuations or a requirement for people to stay indoors for prolonged periods of time would not arise in the event of an accident at the Sellafield nuclear plant, a study has found.
But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that the public could receive twice the average annual dose of radiation, and that strict food controls would be needed to avoid a spike in cancer rates over subsequent years.
While emergency controls would be effective in reducing exposure and health risks, there would be "significant socio-economic implications and costs", it added. This would include the loss of tourism and markets for seafood and farm produce because of consumer concerns, and the effects could last for "months and years".
It comes after a separate study from the ESRI found that the economic cost of an accident would be between €4bn and €161bn, depending on the severity.