Tighter controls needed on Portuguese reactor

29 October 2007

The European Commission’s latest inspection of the Portuguese Research Reactor, run by the country’s Nuclear and Technology Institute at the Sacavém campus, near Lisbon, has called for improvements to radiation safety controls.

Although the commission report welcomed the installation of new monitoring devices for liquid discharges from the reactor to the environment, it said they could be strengthened.

It said: "the final discharge tank for liquid effluents [should] as a matter of priority, be equipped with level indicators and flow meters.”

These devices would allow “a more accurate and therefore less conservative assessment” of any radiation discharged into public sewers.

The report also called for written procedures to be established for the operation, maintenance and calibration of the new monitoring system, and also that regular independent verification checks of its operation be established.

The report added that regular samples needed to be taken from nearby rivers to ensure safe radiation levels are not exceeded.

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