A Civil Defence exercise gathers information about levels of radiation across Ireland in the event of a nuclear explosion.

The aim of the fallout exercise is to advise people if critical levels of radiation pass across Ireland from nuclear power plants such as Chernobyl or Windscale, or a wartime explosion in Britain or Europe.

Local wardens take gamma radiation levels, report to their local, and then to county headquarters. The exercise is coordinated from Custume Barracks in Athlone, which also houses the nuclear bunker where the government will be taken in times of national emergency. The bunker will only hold 100 selected people and act as a centre for broadcasting warnings.

Civil Defence chief technical officer Michael Ó Gabhann says they are taking the nuclear threat seriously.

Water and radiation levels would indeed make the difference between life and death.

As part of the Civil Defence National Exercise, a film about nuclear radiation ‘Behind the Stars and Under the Hills’ was broadcast on Network 2. Presented by Brian Farrell the film included experts from University College Dublin, Dr Peter Mitchell, who explained radioactivity, and Dr Michael Moriarty, who spoke about the effects of radiation in humans.

Other items covered included preparations for making a house secure in the event of radioactive fallout and the Civil Defence procedures for a radiation emergency.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 November 1988. The reporter is Gerry Reynolds.