EC publishes report on radioactivity release

1 March 2002

The exposure of European Union citizens to man-made radiation increased by about 76% between 1987 and 1996, a new European Commission report has claimed, citing discharges from reprocessing plants in Britain (Sellafield) and Normandy, France, (Cap de la Hague) as the "most important" sources of this pollution increase.

Its conclusions focus especially on "the increase in atmospheric discharges" of C-14 radiocarbons and I-129 type radiation from Cap de la Hague, which increased fourfold and threefold respectively between these dates. Also, the report pointed out that liquid discharges of C-14 from the French plant had also increased fourfold.

During these years 23 power reactors on 17 sites across the EU were shut down, while an extra 23 reactors at 13 sites started up operations. The study examined all nuclear power stations with a generating capacity above 50MWe and the fuel reprocessing plants open in the EU between these years.

The report includes statistics on individual radiation doses measured around all nuclear sites, concluding that in all cases they were "below the relevant dose limit."

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