Radioactivity in the environment 2022 report shows radioactive discharges continue to sit comfortably within dose limits

  02 November 2023
The latest Radioactivity in Food and the Environment Report (RIFE 28) has been published today (2 November) and shows that levels and concentrations of man-made radioactivity measured in the environment during 2022 were well within international dose limits.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are responsible for 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 permitted discharges. 

Monitoring shows the doses received by members of the public in Scotland were well below the statutory limit of 1.00 mSv. 

Radioactivity occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, and it can be found in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Exposure to man-made radioactivity includes medical procedures and treatments, and discharges from nuclear and non-nuclear establishments.

The RIFE programme monitors the environment and the diet of people who live or work near nuclear sites. The annual RIFE report is a joint publication between all six agencies across the UK responsible for ensuring that doses from authorised releases of radioactivity remain within strict international limits. It brings together all results from SEPA, the Environment Agency, Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

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

“Since its inception in 1995, the Radioactivity in Food and the Environment publication has been of extreme importance, giving the public an overview of monitoring and the impact of radioactive discharges on the public and the environment. Once again RIFE 28 demonstrates that Scotland’s public is adequately protected against man-made sources of radioactivity that could impact on our food and the wider natural environment.

“The results demonstrate SEPA has a robust regulatory oversight and that the impact of discharges from industry continue to remain low. The well-structured monitoring and assessment programme that RIFE illustrates is a strong backstop to a robust process of regulation across the UK, and SEPA plays a vital role in that as Scotland’s environment regulator.”

RIFE 28 is available on SEPA’s website.