EU begins stockpiling gear, drugs against chemical, nuclear incidents
BRUSSELS, April 6 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Wednesday it had begun a stockpiling operation to boost its defences against chemical, nuclear and biological incidents amid concerns over the conflict in Ukraine.
The EU will increase its reserves of protective equipment, decontamination gear, medicines and vaccines that could be useful in case of chemical, nuclear or biological incidents, the Commission said, confirming a Reuters report from last week.
“We are taking concrete measures to increase Europe’s preparedness in the face of potential threats,” EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said.
The EU is setting up two separate reserves: one for protective gear, drugs and vaccines against so-called chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats; and a second one for decontamination material which will be deployed to decontaminate people, infrastructure, buildings or vehicles that have been exposed to CBRN agents.
The EU has already began using existing reserves to help Ukrainians exposed to possible nuclear radiation in the wake of battles near nuclear plants since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Almost 3 million iodide tablets have already been delivered to Ukraine via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism with the help of France and Spain, the Commission said.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Bernadette Baum)