Ireland says risk from illegal dumping of UK radioactive waste is low

A report published by the Irish Government concludes that the illegal dumping of industrial and laboratory radioactive waste by the UK into the Irish Sea between the 1950s and 1976 presents a very low health risk.

“Our report concluded that the risk from the dumping activities is very low,” Denis Maher of the Irish Department of the Marine and Natural Resources told edie. “The report didn’t look at the effects of the Sellafield radioactive discharges.”

Measurement has shown that radioactivity resulting from the illegal dumping is much lower than the levels of radioactivity that have arisen from well-known discharges from the UK’s Sellafield nuclear power station on England’s northwest coast.

Maher confirmed that the Radiological Protection Agency of Ireland continues to monitor radioactivity in the Irish Sea on a monthly basis, as part of a programme to assess the effects of Sellafield discharges. “Their analyses show that radioactive discharges [from Sellafield] peaked in the 1970s and since then have steadily declined,” states Maher. Norway has recently shown its dissatisfaction with the present levels of radioactive discharges leaving Sellafield (see related story). It would like to see the UK meets its international agreement to end radioactive discharges to sea as early as possible (see related story).

Illegal dumping at sea of radioactive waste from UK industrial and laboratory sources took place at six sites – off the west coast of Scotland, north Wales, northern Ireland and northwest England. The UK Government released information regarding the dumping in 1997.

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