In this paper, the causes and the radiological consequences of the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor occurred at 1:23 a.m. (local time) on Apr. 26, 1986, and of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following the huge Tsunami caused by the Great East Japan earthquake at 2.46 p.m. (local time) on Mar. 11, 2011 are discussed. The need for better severe accident management (SAM), and severe accident management guidelines (SAMGs), are essential in order to increase the safety of the existing and future operating nuclear power plants (NPPs). In addition to that, stress tests should, on a regular basis, be performed to assess whether the NPPs can withstand the effects of natural disasters and man-made failures and actions. The differences in safety preparations at the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi will therefore be presented, as well as recommendations concerning improvements of safety culture, decontamination, and disaster planning. The need for a high-level national emergency response system in case of nuclear accidents will be discussed. The emergency response system should include fast alarms, communication between nuclear power plants, nuclear power authorities and the public people, as well as well-prepared and well-established evacuation plans and evacuation zones. The experiences of disaster planning and the development of a new improved emergency response system in Japan will also be presented together with the training and education program, which have been established to ensure that professional rescue workers, including medical staff, fire fighters, and police, as well as the normal populations including patients, have sufficient knowledge about ionizing radiation and are informed about the meaning of radiation risks and safety.

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