Radioactivity in the environment report shows all levels and concentrations of radioactivity well within dose limits

date19 October 2017

The latest Radioactivity in Food and the Environment Report (RIFE 22) has been published today (19 October, 2017) and shows that doses of radioactivity received by people in Scotland are still well within international dose limits.

This year’s data shows that levels and concentrations of radioactivity measured in the environment during 2016 and discharges from all of the nuclear licensed sites in Scotland were within the limits set by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

SEPA is responsible for the radiological monitoring that is carried out in Scotland and has a duty to ensure that no member of the public receives a dose in excess of the statutory dose limit of one millisievert (1 mSv) per year from authorised discharges.

The RIFE 22 report is a joint publication between all six agencies across the UK with responsibility for ensuring that doses from authorised releases of radioactivity do not pose an unacceptable risk to health - SEPA, the Environment Agency (EA), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

It shows that the highest dose for a member of the public in Scotland reported in RIFE was 0.058 mSv - around one twentieth of the legal limit. This compares to a UK average background exposure of 2.7mSv, of which 0.43 mSv is from medical radiation. 

Dr Paul Dale, Radioactive Substances Unit Manager at SEPA, said:

“This year’s report again demonstrates that Scotland’s public is adequately protected against sources of radioactivity that could impact on our food and the wider natural environment. The report represents a collaborative effort by all agencies to carry out rigorous annual monitoring, to ensure dose levels are well within international limits and the 2016 report confirms that this remains the case.”

RIFE 22 is available on SEPA’s website.

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