Food grown near nuclear sites is safe says EA

Produce grown in the vicinity of the UK's nuclear installation is safe to eat and levels of radioactivity fall well below legal limits.

This is the key finding of an annual report into radioactivity in the food and environment, produced by the Environment Agency and its sister agencies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The report uses data from a monitoring programme which looks at radioactivity levels from authorised discharges from the nuclear industry and ensures they do not go above limits set by Brussels and Westminster.

“The Environment Agency regulates the disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear and non-nuclear sites in England and Wales through strict authorisations,” said the agency’s head of radioactive substances regulation Joe McHugh.

“These cover radioactive discharges into the air, the sea, rivers, drains and groundwater, disposals to land, and by transfer to another site.

“Radioactivity in the environment comes from several sources and this extensive report provides an in-depth assessment of radioactivity in food and the environment in the UK.

“It focuses on key information that demonstrates both that food remains safe and that the public’s exposure to ionising radiation is within legal limits.”

The highest dose recorded was roughly half the limit permitted for the public under EU and UK legislation.

The Food Standard Agency’s head of emergency planning, radiation and incidents division Lynne Ridler-Wall said: “We know that there are some concerns about the possible effects of radiation on the environment and on the food people eat.

“The report is therefore very important in informing the public about the monitoring work that is conducted by the relevant Government agencies in this area.

“Our work has shown that the food chain has not been adversely affected by these discharges and our food remains safe to eat.”

Sam Bond

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