Iodine-131 - Update 2

  30 March 2011

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been informed that a second air sampler in Scotland has reported the presence of radioactive iodine. The value reported is extremely low and is consistent with reports from other European countries such as Iceland and Switzerland.

The high volume air sampler is located in Lerwick and it samples extremely large volumes of air each month, to determine the concentration of radioactive substances at very low levels which could be undetectable otherwise. Separately, SEPA has been informed that monitoring at East Kilbride appears to have detected the presence of iodine-131 in the air.  Although the concentration has yet to be determined, there is no reason to believe that the potential health implications of this would be any different from those associated with the iodine-131 detected elsewhere in the UK.

Dr Paul Dale, a Radioactive Substances Specialist at SEPA, said:

"The concentrations of iodine detected at Lerwick and Glasgow are both extremely low and do not pose any threat to health or the environment.

"The fact that such low concentrations of this radionuclide were detected demonstrates how effective the UK and Scottish surveillance programme for radioactive substances is, and supports the judgement that these observations are the result of a release or releases from the Japanese reactors.

"SEPA has an ongoing comprehensive monitoring programme for radioactivity in Scotland and has increased the level of scrutiny to provide ongoing public assurance during this period. SEPA will provide any further information on the detection of radioactive iodine in the environment as it becomes available."