Radioactivity

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Radioactivity

Monitoring of the

Irish Environment 2012–2013


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for

protecting and improving the environment as a valuable asset

for the people of Ireland. We are committed to protecting people

and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation and

pollution.

The work of the EPA can be divided into

three main areas:

Regulation: We implement effective regulation and

environmental compliance systems to deliver good environmental

outcomes and target those who don’t comply.

Knowledge: We provide high quality, targeted and timely

environmental data, information and assessment to inform

decision making at all levels.

Advocacy: We work with others to advocate for a clean,

productive and well protected environment and for sustainable

environmental behaviour.

Our Responsibilities

Licensing

We regulate the following activities so that they do not

endanger human health or harm the environment:

• waste facilities (e.g. landfills, incinerators, waste transfer

stations);

• large scale industrial activities (e.g. pharmaceutical, cement

manufacturing, power plants);

• intensive agriculture (e.g. pigs, poultry);

• the contained use and controlled release of Genetically Modified

Organisms (GMOs);

• sources of ionising radiation (e.g. x-ray and radiotherapy

equipment, industrial sources);

• large petrol storage facilities;

• waste water discharges;

• dumping at sea activities.

National Environmental Enforcement

• Conducting an annual programme of audits and inspections of

EPA licensed facilities.

• Overseeing local authorities’ environmental protection

responsibilities.

• Supervising the supply of drinking water by public water

suppliers.

• Working with local authorities and other agencies to tackle

environmental crime by coordinating a national enforcement

network, targeting offenders and overseeing remediation.

• Enforcing Regulations such as Waste Electrical and Electronic

Equipment (WEEE), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

and substances that deplete the ozone layer.

• Prosecuting those who flout environmental law and damage the

environment.

Water Management

Monitoring and reporting on the quality of rivers, lakes,

transitional and coastal waters of Ireland and groundwaters;

measuring water levels and river flows.

National coordination and oversight of the Water Framework

Directive.

Monitoring and reporting on Bathing Water Quality.

Monitoring, Analysing and Reporting on the

Environment

• Monitoring air quality and implementing the EU Clean Air for

Europe (CAFÉ) Directive.

• Independent reporting to inform decision making by national

and local government (e.g. periodic reporting on the State of

Ireland’s Environment and Indicator Reports).

Regulating Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Preparing Ireland’s greenhouse gas inventories and projections.

• Implementing the Emissions Trading Directive, for over 100 of

the largest producers of carbon dioxide in Ireland.

Environmental Research and Development

• Funding environmental research to identify pressures, inform

policy and provide solutions in the areas of climate, water and

sustainability.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

• Assessing the impact of proposed plans and programmes on the

Irish environment (e.g. major development plans).

Radiological Protection

• Monitoring radiation levels, assessing exposure of people in

Ireland to ionising radiation.

• Assisting in developing national plans for emergencies arising

from nuclear accidents.

• Monitoring developments abroad relating to nuclear

installations and radiological safety.

• Providing, or overseeing the provision of, specialist radiation

protection services.

Guidance, Accessible Information and Education

• Providing advice and guidance to industry and the public on

environmental and radiological protection topics.

• Providing timely and easily accessible environmental

information to encourage public participation in environmental

decision-making (e.g. My Local Environment, Radon Maps).

• Advising Government on matters relating to radiological safety

and emergency response.

• Developing a National Hazardous Waste Management Plan to

prevent and manage hazardous waste.

Awareness Raising and Behavioural Change

• Generating greater environmental awareness and influencing

positive behavioural change by supporting businesses,

communities and householders to become more resource

efficient.

• Promoting radon testing in homes and workplaces and

encouraging remediation where necessary.

Management and Structure of the EPA

The EPA is managed by a full time Board, consisting of a Director

General and five Directors. The work is carried out across five

Offices:

• Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use

• Office of Environmental Enforcement

• Office of Environmental Assessment

• Office of Radiological Protection

• Office of Communications and Corporate Services

The EPA is assisted by an Advisory Committee of twelve members

who meet regularly to discuss issues of concern and provide

advice to the Board.


Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment

2012–2013

Radioactivity Monitoring

of the Irish Environment

2012–2013

Environmental Protection Agency

An Ghníomhaireacht um Chaomhnú Comhshaoil

Johnstown Castle Estate

Wexford Ireland

www.epa.ie


© Environmental Protection Agency 2015

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material contained

in this publication, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Neither the Environmental

Protection Agency nor the author(s) accepts any responsibility whatsoever for loss

or damage occasioned, or claimed to have been occasioned, in part or in full as a

consequence of any person acting or refraining from acting, as a result of a matter

contained in this publication. All or part of this publication may be reproduced without

further permission, provided the source is acknowledged.

ISBN 978-1-84095-616-0


Contents

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF TABLES

RADIATION UNITS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

VI

VII

IX

X

1. INTRODUCTION 1

Radioactivity in the environment 2

Natural radioactivity in the environment 3

Artificial radioactivity in the environment 4

Legislative framework 7

Quality assurance and results 9

2. RADIOACTIVITY IN THE ATMOSPHERE 11

The National Radiation Monitoring Network 11

Airborne radioactivity 12

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume) 13

External gamma dose rate 21

3. RADIOACTIVITY IN FOODSTUFFS AND DRINKING WATER 24

Foodstuffs 24

Radioactivity in milk 24

Drinking water 28

4. RADIOACTIVITY IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT 30

Marine radioactivity 30

Radioactivity in seawater 32

Radioactivity in sediment 36

Radioactivity in seaweed 37

Radioactivity in fish and shellfish 40

Radiation doses from consumption of fish and shellfish 43

5. CONCLUSIONS 48

6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 49

7. REFERENCES 50

APPENDIX 1. SCREENING LEVELS FOR DRINKING WATER 54

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

List of Figures

Figure A.

Contribution to annual radiation dose from all sources of radiation

in Ireland

xi

Figure 1.

Contribution to annual radiation dose from all sources of radiation

in Ireland 2

Figure 2. Marine discharges of caesium-137 from Sellafield, 1952-2013 6

Figure 3.

Marine discharges of plutonium and americium from Sellafield,

1952-2013 6

Figure 4. Marine discharges of technetium-99 from Sellafield, 1986-2013 7

Figure 5. The National Radiation Monitoring Network, 2012–2013 11

Figure 6. Marine sampling locations, 2012–2013 32

Figure 7. Mean caesium-137 concentrations (Bq/l) in seawater, 2012–2013 34

Figure 8.

Figure 9.

Caesium-137 concentrations in seawater from east-coast

locations, 1993-2013 34

Caesium-137 concentrations in seawater from offshore

monitoring locations in the Irish Sea, 1985 – 2013 35

Figure 10. Technetium-99 concentrations in seawater (Bq/l), 1995-2013 36

Figure 11.

Figure 12.

Figure 13.

Mean caesium-137 concentrations in seaweed

(Fucus vesiculosis, Bq/kg, dry) from east coast locations, 1982-2013 39

Technetium-99 concentrations in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis,

Bq/kg, dry) from east coast locations

(Balbriggan and Ballagan), 1988-2013 39

Annual committed effective dose to the typical seafood

consumer, 1982-2013 47

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

List of Tables

Table 1. Naturally occurring radionuclides in seawater 3

Table 3.

Radioanalytical techniques used in the determination of radionuclide

concentrations 10

Table 4. The National Radiation Monitoring Network, 2012–2013 12

Table 5a.

Table 5b.

Table 5c.

Table 5d.

Table 5e.

Table 5f.

Table 6.

Table 7.

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Cahirciveen, 2012–2013 14

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Clonskeagh, 2012–2013 15

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Cork Airport, 2012–2013 16

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Glasnevin, 2012–2013 17

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Knock Airport, 2012–2013 18

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume),

Shannon Airport, 2012–2013 19

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (high-volume),

Belfield (Dublin), 2012–2013 20

Annual committed effective doses due to inhalation of

airborne caesium-137, 2001-2013 21

Table 8a. External gamma dose rates (terrestrial), 2012 22

Table 9. Radioactivity in milk 24

Table 10. Radioactivity in milk, Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny 25

Table 11. Ingestion dose coefficients for radionuclides detected in milk 26

Table 12.

Annual committed effective dose from radionuclides

in milk, 2012–2013 26

Table 13. Radioactivity in mixed diet samples, Co Dublin 27

Table 14. Radioactivity in grain samples 28

Table 15.

Table 16.

Gross alpha and gross beta activity concentrations in

drinking water, 2012–2013 29

Marine environmental radioactivity monitoring

programme, 2012–2013 31

Table 17. Radioactivity in seawater, 2012–2013 33

Table 18. Cs-137 concentration in marine sediments, 2012–2013 37

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 19. Radioactivity in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis), 2012–2013 38

Table 20. Caesium-137 concentrations in fish, 2012–2013 40

Table 21. Caesium-137 concentrations in shellfish, 2012–2013 41

Table 22.

Table 23.

Table 24.

Table 25.

Table 26.

Technetium-99 and plutonium-238, 239 and 240 concentrations

in fish and shellfish, 2012–2013 42

Mean concentrations of artificial radionuclides in fish and shellfish

landed at north-east ports, 2012–2013 43

Weighted consumption rates for critical groups and for

notional consumers 44

Adult ingestion dose coefficients for radionuclides detected in

fish and shellfish 44

Annual committed effective doses from artificial radionuclides

due to consumption of fish and shellfish landed at north-east

ports, 2012 and 2013 45

Table A1. Parametric values for radioactivity from Drinking Water 54

Table A2.

Radiological data used to calculate indicatives doses for

drinking water 55

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Radiation Units

Radioactivity is measured in units called becquerels (Bq). One becquerel corresponds to one

radioactive disintegration per second.

When measuring radioactive discharges to the environment or referring to the content of

radioactive sources used in medicine, industry and education, it is more usual to talk in terms

of kilobecquerels (kBq), megabecquerels (MBq), gigabecquerels (GBq) or terabecquerels (TBq)

1 kBq = 1000 Bq

1 MBq = 1,000,000 Bq

1 GBq = 1,000,000,000 Bq

1 TBq = 1,000,000,000,000 Bq

Much lower concentrations of radioactivity are normally found in the environment and so

the measurement is often reported in units of millibecquerels (mBq). There are one thousand

millibecquerels in a becquerel.

1 Bq = 1000 mBq

Radiation Dose When radiation interacts with body tissues and organs, the radiation dose

received is a function of factors such as the type of radiation, the part of the body affected, the

exposure pathway, and so on. This means that one becquerel of radioactivity will not always

deliver the same radiation dose. A unit called ‘effective dose’ has been developed to take

account of the differences between different types of radiation so that their biological impact

can be compared directly. Effective dose is measured in units called sieverts (Sv).

The sievert is a large unit, and in practice it is more usual to measure radiation doses received

by individuals in terms of fractions of a sievert.

1 sievert = 1000 millisievert (mSv)

= 1,000,000 microsievert (µSv)

= 1,000,000,000 nanosievert (nSv)

In EPA reports the term ‘effective dose’ is often referred to as ‘radiation dose’ or simply ‘dose’.

Collective dose is the sum of the radiation doses received by each individual in the population.

This allows comparison of the total radiation dose received from different sources. Collective

dose is reported in units of man sieverts (man Sv) or man millisieverts (man mSv).

Per caput dose is the collective dose divided by the total population. Per caput dose is reported

in units of sieverts, or fractions of a sievert.

A critical group is a group of members of the public which is reasonably homogeneous with

respect to its exposure for a given radiation source and is typical of individuals receiving the

highest effective dose from the given source.

A representative person is an individual receiving a dose that is representative of the doses to

the more highly exposed individuals in the population. The dose to the representative person is

the equivalent of the mean dose in the critical group.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Executive summary

This report presents the results of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme

carried out by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) during 2012 and 2013. In

August 2014, the RPII merged with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The functions

of the RPII were transferred to a new EPA Office of Radiological Protection.

Levels of radioactivity in the Irish environment have been routinely monitored since 1982.

This is the latest in a series of environmental radioactivity monitoring reports all of which are

available for download from the EPA website. Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring

programme is reviewed and updated annually to ensure it remains relevant and continues to

focus on the most important sources of radionuclides in the environment.

The data presented in this report confirm that while the levels of artificial radionuclides in the

Irish environment are detectable, they are low. They do not pose a significant risk to the health

of the Irish population.

During 2012 and 2013, radioactivity was measured in air, drinking water, marine environmental

samples and a range of foods. The most significant source of artificial radionuclides in the Irish

marine environment is the discharge of low level liquid radioactive waste from the Sellafield

Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plant on the north-west coast of England. In order to assess the

exposure arising from this source, levels of radionuclides are measured in samples of fish and

shellfish landed at ports along the north-east coast of Ireland.

Concentrations of artificial radionuclides in airborne particles were low and consistent with

measurements made in recent years (with the exception of the short-term rise in levels detected

during the period March to May 2011 following the Fukushima accident). Levels of radionuclides

in milk, mixed diet and a wide range of foodstuffs were low and (for the majority of samples)

below the detection limits. All drinking waters tested were found to be in compliance with the

radiological standards defined in national and EU legislation.

The exposure of the Irish population to environmental radioactivity is assessed by measuring the

concentrations of radionuclides in food and in the environment and by combining the results

with habits data: food consumption rates, breathing rates and other information. This exposure

is expressed as a radiation dose, expressed in micro-sieverts (µSv).

The radiation doses incurred by the Irish public in 2012 and 2013 as a result of artificial

radionuclides in the marine environment are small when compared to dose limits or to natural

radiation doses received by the Irish public. The doses to the most exposed individuals in 2012

and 2013 were much less than 0.1 per cent of the annual dose limit of 1000 µSv for members

of the public from practices involving controllable sources of radiation. These doses represent a

small fraction of the average annual dose to a person in Ireland from all sources of radioactivity

of 4037 µSv as shown in Figure A.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

0.3 %

13.5 %

7.3 %

8.6 %

6.5 % 8.7 %

55.1 %

Artificial

Medical

Gamma Radiation

Cosmic

Food

Thoron

Radon

Figure A. Contribution to annual radiation dose from all sources of radiation in Ireland

In general, levels of artificial radionuclides in the Irish environment remain fairly constant and

are broadly consistent with levels reported previously. It must be emphasised that the levels of

radioactive contamination present in the marine environment, do not warrant any modification

of the habits of people in Ireland, either in respect of consumption of seafood or any other use

of the amenities of the marine environment.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

1. Introduction

This report presents the results of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme

carried out by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) during 2012 and 2013. In

August 2014, the RPII merged with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The functions

of the RPII were transferred to a new EPA Office of Radiological Protection.

Levels of radioactivity in the Irish environment have been routinely monitored since 1982. This is

the latest in a series of environmental radioactivity monitoring reports all of which are available

for download from the EPA website.

The principal aims of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme are:

\\

To comply with statutory and international obligations concerning environmental

monitoring and individual and population dose assessment;

\\

To assess the levels of radionuclides in the environment to which the Irish population is

exposed;

\\

To study trends and establish the geographical distribution of artificial radionuclides in

order to improve our understanding of the long-term behaviour of these contaminants

in the food chain and in the environment;

\\

To maintain the systems, procedures and expertise necessary to ensure that any increases

in radiation levels in the environment resulting from a nuclear or radiological incident

anywhere are detected and assessed rapidly;

\\

To support the provision of evidence-based information and advice on radiation levels in

the environment to Government and the public; and

\\

To support the Irish food and agriculture industry through the rigorous assessment of the

levels of radionuclides in Irish foodstuffs.

The exposure of the Irish population to radioactivity in the environment is assessed by measuring

the concentrations of radionuclides in food and the environment and by combining these results

with food consumption rates and other data on habits and with appropriate dose coefficients.

The monitoring programme involves the sampling and analysis for radioactivity in air, drinking

water, foodstuffs, fish, shellfish, seaweed, marine sediment and seawater as well as the

continuous measurement of external gamma radiation. The sample types and radionuclides

measured are reviewed annually to ensure that the aims of the monitoring programme continue

to be achieved. In 2009, a comprehensive peer review of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity

monitoring programme was undertaken by a group of international experts (Mitchell et al.,

2009). While this group endorsed the broad thrust of the programme, it made a number of

recommendations for improvement, notably in relation to marine monitoring. These changes

were implemented in 2011.

Studies of other specific radiation exposure pathways are also undertaken in order to improve

the ability to assess the total exposure of the Irish public to environmental radioactivity. In 2013,

the results of a national survey of radioactivity levels in groundwater supplies in Ireland was

published (Dowdall et al., 2013). The results of further monitoring projects to study tritium in

seawater (Currivan et al., 2013a) and radioactivity in bottled water produced in Ireland (Currivan

et al., 2013b) were also reported in 2013. A project to assess radioactivity in Carlingford Lough

was started in 2011, with sampling and analysis being undertaken from 2012. A report is due

to be published in 2016.

An updated comprehensive assessment of doses received by the Irish public was published in

2014 (O’Connor et al., 2014).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Radioactivity in the environment

Radioactivity from both natural and artificial origins exists throughout the environment. Natural

radioactivity has been present since the formation of the Earth and is also formed in the Earth’s

atmosphere as a result of interactions with cosmic radiation. Artificial sources of radionuclides

include fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear

accidents, and the routine discharge of radionuclides from nuclear installations abroad. Liquid

discharges from the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the north-west of England

remain the dominant source of artificial radionuclides affecting the Irish Sea. Once present in

the environment, there are a number of different routes or pathways by which the public can

be exposed to radiation. These include:

\\

Exposure by inhalation (when radioactive material is breathed into the lungs);

\\

Exposure through ingestion (when radioactive material in fish, shellfish, crops, animal

products and drinking water is consumed); and

\\

Direct or external exposure to radioactive material in the environment.

On average, a person in Ireland receives an annual dose of 4037 μSv from all sources of radiation

(O’Connor et al., 2014). By far the largest contribution (approximately 86 per cent; 3480 μSv)

comes from natural sources, mainly from the accumulation of radon gas in homes. Man-made

radiation contributes approximately 14 per cent (557 μSv), dominated by the beneficial use of

radiation in medicine (546 μSv). Doses from other man-made sources account for less than 1

per cent. The contribution from all sources of radiation to the average annual dose to a person

in Ireland, is shown in Figure 1.

0.3 %

13.5 %

7.3 %

8.6 %

6.5 % 8.7 %

55.1 %

Artificial

Medical

Gamma Radiation

Cosmic

Food

Thoron

Radon

Figure 1. Contribution to annual radiation dose from all sources of radiation in Ireland

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Natural radioactivity in the environment

Natural radioactivity in the environment has two principal components, cosmic and primordial.

Cosmic rays, originating in outer space, strike the earth’s atmosphere and generate a cascade of

ionising particles. Cosmic radiation is more intense at high altitudes than at low altitudes, and at

sea level it accounts for, on average, 10% of the total dose from all natural sources that a person

in Ireland would receive (O’Connor et al., 2014). The interaction between cosmic radiation and

atoms in the earth’s atmosphere also produces a range of cosmogenic radionuclides including

beryllium-7 and hydrogen-3 (tritium).

At the time of the creation of the Earth, a range of long-lived radionuclides were present and

many of these are still detectable. These are collectively known as primordial radioactivity and

include radionuclides of the uranium and thorium decay series. The most significant contribution

to human exposure caused by primordial radioactivity comes from radon, a naturally occurring

gas produced as a result of the decay of uranium present in rocks and soil. Because radon is

a gas, it can seep up from the ground and may accumulate in buildings giving rise to human

exposure. The presence of radon in Irish dwellings have been extensively investigated and

reported on (Fennell et al., 2002). A comprehensive study of natural radionuclides in Irish soil

has been carried out by McAulay and Moran (1988).

The concentrations of some of the naturally occurring radionuclides most commonly found

in seawater are summarised in Table 1. Of these, polonium-210 is known to make the most

significant contribution to the radiation dose resulting from the consumption of marine

foodstuffs (Pollard et al., 1998).

Table 1. Naturally occurring radionuclides in seawater

Radionuclide

Concentration (Bq/l)

Tritium 0.0006 a

Carbon-14 0.0043 a

Potassium-40 11 b

Lead-210 0.005 a

Polonium-210 0.0037 a

Bismuth-214 0.0007 a

Radon-222 0.0007 a

Radium-226 0.0036 a

Uranium-234 0.047 c

Uranium-238 0.041 c

Sources: a Walker and Rose (1990). b RPII measurement. c Smith (2001).

Potassium-40, a naturally occurring radionuclide, is present in relatively large concentrations

in the environment. However, it is controlled by homeostatic processes in the human body

(Eisenbud and Gessell, 1997) which means its equilibrium concentration is normally independent

of the amount consumed. Therefore, while the concentrations of this radionuclide in food are

considerably higher than those of many other natural radionuclides, its presence does not lead

to an increased radiological hazard.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Artificial radioactivity in the environment

More than 500 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests took place between 1945 and 1980,

releasing artificial radioactive materials directly into the atmosphere (UNSCEAR, 2008).

These included tritium, carbon-14, strontium-90, caesium-137, plutonium-238, plutonium-239

and plutonium-240. The inventories and deposition patterns in Ireland of weapons-derived

radionuclides have previously been published (Ryan, 1992; Ryan et al., 1993).

Past accidents at nuclear installations are another source of artificial radionuclides in the

environment. Radiocaesium, for example, was widely dispersed in the Irish environment and was

found to be present in air, soil, vegetation and milk following the Chernobyl accident in 1986

(Cunningham et al., 1987; McAulay and Moran, 1989; Ryan, 1992; European Communities,

1998a). Trace amounts of radioactive isotopes consistent with the Fukushima nuclear accident

were detected in Ireland during the period March to May 2011. Detailed results were published

in March 2012, on the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunamis (McGinnity et al., 2012a).

Sellafield

During the routine operation of nuclear installations such as nuclear power plants and

reprocessing plants, radioactive material is released into the environment. The most significant

source of artificial radionuclides to the Irish marine environment comes from the Sellafield

nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Cumbria. During 2012 and 2013, the principal activities at

Sellafield included fuel reprocessing, spent fuel storage, vitrification of high-level radioactive

wastes, decommissioning of obsolete plants, fabrication of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear

reactors and storage of reprocessed plutonium. These activities produce both aerial discharges

and the discharge of low-level liquid radioactive waste into the eastern Irish Sea (Colgan et al.,

2005). These discharges are authorised within prescribed limits by the UK Environment Agency.

The quantities of various radionuclides discharged from Sellafield into the Irish Sea in 2012 and

2013 are presented in Table 2.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 2. Annual authorised discharge limits and actual discharges from Sellafield to the Irish

Sea, 2012–2013

Radionuclide category

Authorised

limit (TBq)

Discharge (TBq) a

2012 2013

Tritium 20,000 1050 1370

Carbon-14 21 4.09 5.53

Cobalt-60 3.6 0.0535 0.0507

Strontium-90 b 45 1.19 1.06

Zirconium-95 + Niobium-95 2.8 0.103 0.0942

Technetium-99 10 0.924 1.10

Ruthenium-106 51 0.645 0.583

Iodine-129 2.0 0.214 0.293

Caesium-134 1.6 0.0555 0.0837

Caesium-137 34 3.58 3.24

Cerium-144 4.0 0.246 0.192

Neptunium-237 0.73 0.0353 0.0345

Plutonium-238

0.0487 0.0516

0.70

Plutonium-239,240 0.091 0.101

Plutonium-241 25 3.01 3.20

Americium-241 0.3 0.0178 0.0194

Curium-243 + 244 0.05 0.00184 0.00176

Alpha-emitting radionuclides 1.0 0.143 0.157

Beta-emitting radionuclides 220 9.5 8.99

Uranium c 2,000 339 347

Notes: 1 TBq (terabequerel) = 1 x 10 12 Bq. a From the sea pipeline. b Limit lowered from 48 TBq in June 2012. d Limit and

discharge expressed in kg. Source: UK Environment Agency (UKEA, 2015).

Liquid discharges from Sellafield to the marine environment began in the early 1950s and were

relatively low until the early to mid-1970s, when considerably larger discharges occurred (Gray et

al., 1995). Discharges then decreased during the late 1970s and early 1980s when the practice

of discharging cooling pond water and the liquid waste known as medium active concentrate

(MAC) directly into the sea was halted. The commissioning of the Site Ion Exchange Effluent

Plant and the Salt Evaporator waste treatment facility resulted in a substantial reduction in

discharges in the mid-1980s. Given the behaviour of caesium-137 in the environment and its

radiotoxicity, this radionuclide is considered the main contaminant. Discharges since 1952 of

caesium-137 are presented in Figure 2. Discharges of the actinides, plutonium and americium,

are presented in Figure 3.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

6000

5000

30

Annual discharge (TBq/y)

4000

3000

2000

25

20

15

10

5

0

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2013

1000

0

1952

1954

1956

1958

1960

1962

1964

1966

1968

1970

1972

1974

1976

1978

1980

1982

1984

Year

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2013

Figure 2. Marine discharges of caesium-137 from Sellafield, 1952-2013

120

100

Pu-238

Pu-239,240

Pu-238+Pu-239,240

Am-241

Annual discharge (TBq/y)

80

60

40

1952

1954

1956

1958

1960

1962

1964

1966

1968

1970

1972

1974

1976

1986

1978

1988

1990

1992

1980

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

1994

1996

1998

2008

2010

2013

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2013

20

0

Figure 3. Marine discharges of plutonium and americium from Sellafield, 1952-2013

Discharges of technetium-99 from Sellafield into the Irish Sea increased significantly in the

mid-1990s and reached a peak in 1995 – this was due to the processing of a backlog of MAC

through the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant (EARP). In 2004, a new treatment process

based on tetraphenylphosphonium bromide (TPP) was implemented, and this was effective at

removing technetium-99 from liquid waste. By the end of 2005, technetium-99 discharges had

returned to pre-1994 levels (Figure 4).

6

Year


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

200

150

100

50

0

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Annual discharge (TBq/y)

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year

Figure 4. Marine discharges of technetium-99 from Sellafield, 1986-2013

Hospital discharges

Some hospitals in Ireland use short-lived radionuclides for medical diagnosis and treatment

and for scientific research. These are subsequently released to the environment via the

sewage system. The only radionuclide that is present in measurable quantities in the marine

environment as a result of such discharges from Irish hospitals is iodine-131. A study to assess

the environmental impact of these discharges and the doses to workers potentially exposed to

them was carried out between 2003 and 2004 (Akinmboni et al., 2005). It was found that,

since this radionuclide is short-lived and the amounts discharged are relatively small, their impact

on the environment was negligible. The doses to potentially exposed workers were significantly

less than the annual dose limit (1000 µSv/year) to members of the public from exposure to

all controlled sources of ionising radiation. Discharges of iodine-131 from Irish hospitals have

remained relatively constant since this study was conducted.

Legislative framework

Radiological Protection Act, 1991

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) was established in 1992 under the

Radiological Protection Act, 1991 (Ireland, 1991) as the national organisation with regulatory,

monitoring and advisory responsibilities in matters pertaining to ionising radiation. The

Radiological Protection Act assigned responsibility to the RPII to monitor levels of radioactivity

in the Irish environment, to monitor the exposure of individuals to radioactivity, and to provide

information to the public and advice to the Government on measures for the protection of

people in the State from radiological hazards.

In August 2014, the RPII merged with the EPA. The functions of the RPII were transferred to

a new EPA Office of Radiological Protection by the Radiological Protection (Miscellaneous

Provisions) Bill, 2014 (Ireland, 2014).

7


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Articles 35 and 36 of the EURATOM Treaty

Under Article 35 of the EURATOM Treaty, each member state of the European Union is

required to establish the facilities necessary to carry out continuous monitoring of the levels

of radioactivity in the environment. An independent assessment is carried out periodically by

the European Commission to verify the operation and efficiency of member states’ facilities.

The most recent assessment of Irish facilities was carried out in 2007 and concluded that the

requirements of Article 35 were fully met (European Commission, 2008). In addition, Article

36 of the EURATOM Treaty requires that data arising from this monitoring be communicated

periodically to the European Commission. In fulfilment of this requirement, the EPA submits the

results of its environmental radioactivity monitoring programme to the Commission annually.

The Joint Research Centre at Ispra in Italy maintains a database of member states’ environmental

radioactivity measurements on behalf of the Commission and publishes compilations of this data

periodically in the Environmental Radioactivity in the European Community series of reports

(European Commission, 2009). Commission Recommendation 2000/473/EURATOM (European

Commission, 2000) on the application of Article 36 of the EURATOM treaty gives specific

guidance on the monitoring of the levels of radionuclides in the environment for the purpose

of assessing the exposure of the population as a whole. This Recommendation gives specific

guidance as to the structure of environmental radioactivity monitoring networks, the media

that should be sampled, the types of measurement, the radionuclides to be monitored and the

sampling frequencies.

Oslo Paris Convention

The Oslo Paris (OSPAR) Convention sets out a framework for international cooperation on the

protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. OSPAR (OSPAR, 2015) aims

to achieve further reductions in the levels of artificial radionuclides in the marine environment

through the implementation of the OSPAR Radioactive Substances Strategy. Countries that are

signatories to the Strategy are committed to progressive and substantial reductions in radioactive

discharges from their facilities. An essential part of the Strategy is an effective monitoring

programme for concentrations of radioactive substances in the marine environment so that

progress towards the OSPAR aims can be measured. This is achieved through collaboration

between the signatory countries in regular monitoring and assessment of radioactivity in the

marine environment. On behalf of Ireland, the EPA provides data annually to OSPAR from its

marine environmental radioactivity monitoring programme.

Drinking Water Directive

Council Directive 98/83/EC (European Communities, 1998b) on the quality of water intended

for human consumption (known as the Drinking Water Directive) seeks to protect human health

from the adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, and

it sets out limit values for microbiological, chemical and radioactivity parameters. The protocol

that the EPA follows for assessing compliance of drinking water against this Directive is set out

in Appendix 1.

8


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Quality assurance and results

The EPA’s radioanalytical laboratory places a strong emphasis on quality assurance and on the

reliability of data. Best practice is ensured through maintenance of a comprehensive laboratory

quality system. Analytical techniques are validated both through exchange of samples with

other laboratories and through analysis of certified reference materials for proficiency testing.

Details of the radioanalytical techniques used by the EPA are given in Table 3.

Test procedures related to measurements by gamma spectrometry are accredited to International

Standard ISO/IEC 17025 through the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB). The EPA

laboratory’s accreditation certificate is maintained up to date on the INAB website (INAB, 2015).

The EPA’s radioanalytical laboratory participates in an active programme of intercomparison

exercises, which provide independent evaluation of the quality and robustness of analyses.

During 2012 and 2013, these included exercises organised by the International Atomic Energy

Agency, the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, the European Commission’s Joint Research

Centre and the Max Rubner-Institut, the German Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and

Food.

All results quoted are decay corrected to the date of sampling, while bulked samples are

decay corrected to the middle of the bulking period. Because of variability in moisture content,

marine sediment and seaweed samples are quoted on a dry weight basis. All other solid marine

samples are quoted on a fresh weight basis. Typical detection limits and uncertainties for each

analytical technique are detailed in Table 3. Uncertainties are calculated in accordance with

the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (ISO, 1995) and quoted as

standard uncertainty values. Where calculated, mean activity concentrations relate to samples

with activities above the limit of detection.

9


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 3. Radioanalytical techniques used in the determination of radionuclide concentrations

Measurements

Gamma

emitting

radionuclides

Sample

types

Foodstuffs

Air filters

(highvolume)

Air filters

(low-volume,

offline)

Milk

Analytical techniques

High resolution gamma

spectrometry by high purity

germanium detectors

Sr-90 Milk Liquid extraction followed by

Cerenkov counting (Suomela

et al., 1993)

Total beta

activity

Total alpha

activity and

total beta

activity

Gamma dose

rate

Gamma

emitting

radionuclides

Air filters

(low-volume,

offline)

Drinking

water

Ambient

Fish, shellfish

and seaweed

Gas flow proportional

counting

Evaporation and gas flow

proportional counting

Continuous monitoring

station (Geiger–Müller

probes)

High resolution gamma

spectrometry using high

purity germanium detectors

Cs-137 Seawater Radiochemical separation

techniques in accordance

with the method described

by Baker (1975) followed

by high resolution gamma

spectrometry

H-3 (Tritium) Seawater Double distillation followed by

liquid scintillation counting

Typical minimum

detectable

activities

0.5 Bq/kg

(24 hour count)

1 x 10 -7 Bq/m 3

(7 day count)

1.5 x 10 -5 Bq/m 3

(24 hour count)

0.3 Bq/kg

(24 hour count)

0.02 Bq/l (100

minute count)

0.05 mBq/m 3 (2

hour count)

5 mBq/l (24 hour

count)

Typical

counting

uncertainties

(k=1)

15%

15%

20%

15%

40%

10%

40% (alpha);

30% (beta)

10 nSv/h 15% (Cs-137)

1.0 Bq/kg (I-131)

0.3 Bq/kg (Cs-137)

15% or better

0.8 mBq/l 12% or better

1 Bq/l 15 %

Am-241,

Pu-238,

Pu-239,240

Fish and

shellfish

Radiochemical separation

techniques followed by

alpha spectrometry using the

method described by Luisier

et al. (2009)

0.001 Bq/kg 15% or better

10


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

2. Radioactivity in the atmosphere

The National Radiation Monitoring Network

The EPA continuously assesses the level of radioactivity in the environment by operating the

National Radiation Monitoring Network of permanent monitoring stations located throughout

the country. Aerosol and rainwater samples are collected and the ambient gamma dose rate

is measured at each station. The geographical distribution of the stations means that any

environmental contamination can be quickly assessed across the whole country in the event of

a radiological emergency – a core objective of the EPA’s environmental radioactivity monitoring

programme. The location of the stations is set out in Figure 5 and the measurements taken at

each are listed in Table 4.

Malin Head

Belmullet

Clones

Knock Airport

Dundalk

Drogheda

Kiltrough

Mullingar

Dublin Airport

Glasnevin

Gurteen

Shannon Airport

Birr

Dublin

Ballyrichard

Coolgreany

Casement

Clonskeagh

Belfield

Kilmeadan

Rosslare

Cahirciveen

Cork Airport

Figure 5. The National Radiation Monitoring Network, 2012–2013

11


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 4. The National Radiation Monitoring Network, 2012–2013

Sampling location

External gamma

dose rate

Ballyrichard, Co. Wicklow 4

Belfield, Co. Dublin

Sample types

Airborne

particulates

4 a

Rainwater

Belmullet, Co. Mayo 4

Birr, Co. Offaly 4

Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry 4 4 4

Casement, Co. Dublin 4 4

Clones, Co. Monaghan 4

Clonskeagh, Co. Dublin 4 4 c 4

Coolgreany, Co. Wexford 4 4 b

Cork Airport, Co. Cork 4 4 4

Drogheda Co. Louth

Dublin Airport, Co. Dublin 4

Dundalk, Co. Louth (2 sites) 4 4 b

Glasnevin, Co. Dublin 4

Gurteen, Co. Tipperary 4

Kilmeadan, Co. Waterford 4 4 b

Kiltrough, Co. Meath 4

Knock Airport, Co. Mayo 4 4

Malin Head, Co. Donegal 4 4

Mullingar, Co. Westmeath 4

Rosslare, Co. Wexford 4

Shannon Airport, Co. Clare 4 4 4

4 b

Notes: a High-volume aerosol sampler. b Online aerosol sampler. c Both offline and online aerosol samplers.

Airborne radioactivity

The EPA’s radioactivity air sampling network includes both online and offline aerosol samplers.

With the online system, levels of radionuclides captured on a filter paper are measured in situ

and the data is relayed directly to a central computer in the EPA. With the offline system,

the filter papers are transported to the EPA’s radioanalytical laboratory in Clonskeagh for

analysis. The online systems automatically correct for the natural radiation component due to

radon daughters so that the readings transmitted back to the EPA are a direct estimate of the

concentrations of airborne artificial radionuclides. While the online samplers provide instant

results, their sensitivity is lower than what can be achieved by analysis of filters in a laboratory.

The network includes one high-volume particulate sampler that allows ambient background

levels of radionuclides in air to be measured. The low-volume radioactivity air sampling network

includes five online and six offline stations.

12


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume)

The process for monitoring airborne radioactivity at low-volume offline samplers has the

following monthly cycle:

1. Air is sampled continuously at each station. Airborne particulates are collected over a

period of approximately one week. This is done by using a pump to draw air continuously

through a glass microfibre filter with a diameter of 47 mm. The volume of air sampled

ranges between approximately 600m 3 and 1000m 3 .

2. The filters are replaced approximately once a week. Used filters are transported to the

EPA radioanalytical laboratory in Dublin and stored in a dust-free environment.

3. One filter from each monitoring station is analysed for gross beta activity and for the

gamma-emitting radionuclides caesium-137 and beryllium-7 each month. The filters are

held for five days before analysis – this ensures that any short-lived naturally occurring

radionuclides such as bismuth-214 and lead-214 have decayed below detectable levels

and do not present in the analysis.

4. The other filters are archived for a period so that they may be analysed at a later date,

if required.

The concentrations in airborne particulates measured at the low-volume offline monitoring

stations are presented in Tables 5a–5f. Airborne caesium-137 concentrations arise from residual

fallout from weapons testing and the Chernobyl accident and from discharges from nuclear

facilities abroad. Beryllium-7 is a naturally occurring radionuclide and is measured for quality

control purposes.

In general in 2012 and 2013, the overall levels of radioactivity in air at these stations, as

measured by the gross beta activity concentrations, were consistent with the pattern of

background radioactivity reported in previous years (McGinnity et al., 2012b).

Data for continuous online gross alpha and beta radioactivity in air measurements were

collected at Clonskeagh in Dublin, Coolgreany in Wexford, Drogheda and Dundalk in Co. Louth

and at Kilmeaden in Co. Waterford. No airborne artificial radioactivity was detected at any of

the online stations during 2012 and 2013.

13


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5a. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Cahirciveen, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

5-Jan 12-Jan 0.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

2-Feb 9-Feb 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.6 x 10 -3

1-Mar 8-Mar 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

5-Apr 12-Apr 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.0 x 10 -3

3-May 10-May 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

7-Jun 14-Jun 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.7 x 10 -3

5-Jul 12-Jul 1.3 x 10 -4 nd 1.9 x 10 -3

2-Aug 9-Aug 0.8 x 10 -4 nd 1.5 x 10 -3

6-Sep 13-Sep 2.0 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

4-Oct 11-Oct 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 1.6 x 10 -3

1-Nov 8-Nov 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

6-Dec 13-Dec 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

2013

3-Jan 10-Jan 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.3 x 10 -3

7-Feb 14-Feb 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.2 x 10 -3

7-Mar 14-Mar 1.6 x 10 -4 nd 2.4 x 10 -3

4-Apr 11-Apr 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

3-May 9-May 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

6-Jun 13-Jun 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.7 x 10 -3

4-Jul 11-Jul 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.8 x 10 -3

1-Aug 8-Aug 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.2 x 10 -3

5-Sep 11-Sep 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 1.3 x 10 -3

3-Oct 10-Oct 2.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

14-Nov 21-Nov 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.4 x 10 -3

5-Dec 12-Dec 5.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.9 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

14


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5b. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Clonskeagh, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

3-Jan 12-Jan 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.2 x 10 -3

2-Feb 9-Feb 3.8 x 10 -4 nd 5.4 x 10 -3

1-Mar 9-Mar 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 4.8 x 10 -3

4-Apr 13-Apr 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

3-May 11-May 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.8 x 10 -3

7-Jun 19-Jun 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

5-Jul 12-Jul 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 1.9 x 10 -3

2-Aug 9-Aug 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.8 x 10 -3

6-Sep 13-Sep 2.8 x 10 -4 nd 4.8 x 10 -3

4-Oct 11-Oct 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

1-Nov 8-Nov 1.9 x 10 -4 nd 3.0 x 10 -3

29-Nov 13-Dec 0.9 x 10 -4 nd 1.3 x 10 -3

2013

2-Jan 10-Jan 3.0 x 10 -4 nd 3.0 x 10 -3

6-Feb 14-Feb 2.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.6 x 10 -3

7-Mar 14-Mar 3.4 x 10 -4 nd 3.0 x 10 -3

4-Apr 11-Apr 4.2 x 10 -4 nd 5.8 x 10 -3

2-May 9-May 4.4 x 10 -4 nd 5.4 x 10 -3

6-Jun 12-Jun 3.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

4-Jul 10-Jul 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 3.9 x 10 -3

1-Aug 9-Aug 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.2 x 10 -3

5-Sep 12-Sep 2.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

3-Oct 10-Oct 3.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

7-Nov 14-Nov 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.6 x 10 -3

5-Dec 12-Dec 6.4 x 10 -4 nd 5.2 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

15


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5c. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Cork Airport, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

6-Jan 13-Jan 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 1.9 x 10 -3

3-Feb 10-Feb 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

2-Mar 9-Mar 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

6-Apr 13-Apr 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

4-May 11-May 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

1-Jun 8-Jun 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 1.8 x 10 -3

6-Jul 13-Jul 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.0 x 10 -3

3-Aug 10-Aug 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 0.8 x 10 -3

7-Sep 14-Sep 2.4 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

5-Oct 12-Oct 1.6 x 10 -4 nd 1.3 x 10 -3

2-Nov 9-Nov 1.7 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

7-Dec 14-Dec 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

2013

4-Jan 11-Jan 3.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

1-Feb 8-Feb 1.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.0 x 10 -3

1-Mar 8-Mar 4.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

5-Apr 12-Apr 3.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.2 x 10 -3

3-May 10-May 2.8 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

7-Jun 14-Jun 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.7 x 10 -3

5-Jul 12-Jul 3.8 x 10 -4 nd 3.7 x 10 -3

2-Aug 9-Aug 1.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

6-Sep 13-Sep 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.5 x 10 -3

4-Oct 11-Oct 2.4 x 10 -4 nd 1.6 x 10 -3

8-Nov 15-Nov 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

6-Dec 13-Dec 5.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

16


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5d. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Glasnevin, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

4-Jan 11-Jan 1.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.4 x 10 -3

1-Feb 8-Feb 3.0 x 10 -4 nd 4.8 x 10 -3

7-Mar 14-Mar 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

3-Apr 11-Apr 1.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

2-May 9-May 3.0 x 10 -4 nd 5.4 x 10 -3

6-Jun 14-Jun 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.6 x 10 -3

4-Jul 11-Jul 1.3 x 10 -4 nd 1.5 x 10 -3

1-Aug 8-Aug 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 1.7 x 10 -3

5-Sep 12-Sep 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 4.3 x 10 -3

3-Oct 9-Oct 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 1.8 x 10 -3

7-Nov 14-Nov 0.6 x 10 -4 nd 1.4 x 10 -3

5-Dec 12-Dec 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

2013

2-Jan 9-Jan 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

6-Feb 13-Feb 1.6 x 10 -4 nd 1.7 x 10 -3

6-Mar 13-Mar 2.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

4-Apr 10-Apr 3.1 x 10 -4 nd 4.0 x 10 -3

2-May 8-May 3.4 x 10 -4 nd 4.6 x 10 -3

5-Jun 12-Jun 2.6 x 10 -4 nd 2.7 x 10 -3

3-Jul 10-Jul 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

7-Aug 14-Aug 1.6 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

4-Sep 11-Sep 1.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.7 x 10 -3

2-Oct 9-Oct 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.2 x 10 -3

6-Nov 13-Nov 1.1 x 10 -4 nd 2.2 x 10 -3

4-Dec 11-Dec 2.9 x 10 -4 nd 3.3 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

17


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5e. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Knock Airport, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

2-Jan 9-Jan 1.1 x 10 -4 nd 2.2 x 10 -3

6-Feb 13-Feb 1.1 x 10 -4 nd 1.1 x 10 -3

5-Mar 12-Mar 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.0 x 10 -3

2-Apr 9-Apr 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

7-May 14-May 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

4-Jun 11-Jun 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.9 x 10 -3

2-Jul 9-Jul 1.3 x 10 -4 nd 0.9 x 10 -3

6-Aug 13-Aug 2.6 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

3-Sep 10-Sep 1.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

1-Oct 8-Oct 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.2 x 10 -3

5-Nov 12-Nov 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.3 x 10 -3

3-Dec 10-Dec 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.6 x 10 -3

2013

7-Jan 14-Jan 1.3 x 10 -4 nd nd

4-Feb 11-Feb 1.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.9 x 10 -3

4-Mar 11-Mar 3.9 x 10 -4 nd 1.2 x 10 -3

1-Apr 8-Apr 5.7 x 10 -4 nd 7.3 x 10 -3

6-May 13-May 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 3.5 x 10 -3

3-Jun 10-Jun 4.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.8 x 10 -3

1-Jul 8-Jul 1.1 x 10 -4 nd 1.5 x 10 -3

5-Aug 12-Aug 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 3.5 x 10 -3

2-Sep 9-Sep 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 3.4 x 10 -3

7-Oct 14-Oct 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

4-Nov 11-Nov 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.4 x 10 -3

2-Dec 9-Dec 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 3.8 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

18


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 5f. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (low-volume), Shannon Airport, 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Gross beta Cs-137 Be-7

2012

5-Jan 19-Jan 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.6 x 10 -3

16-Feb 23-Feb 0.9 x 10 -4 nd 2.5 x 10 -3

1-Mar 8-Mar 2.3 x 10 -4 nd 4.1 x 10 -3

12-Apr 19-Apr 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.6 x 10 -3

4-May 10-May 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 4.6 x 10 -3

8-Jun 14-Jun 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.9 x 10 -3

5-Jul 13-Jul 2.2 x 10 -4 nd 3.0 x 10 -3

2-Aug 10-Aug 1.6 x 10 -4 nd 1.9 x 10 -3

6-Sep 13-Sep 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 3.9 x 10 -3

5-Oct 11-Oct 1.7 x 10 -4 nd 1.7 x 10 -3

1-Nov 8-Nov 1.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.7 x 10 -3

7-Dec 20-Dec 1.2 x 10 -4 nd 1.8 x 10 -3

2013

3-Jan 10-Jan 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 2.0 x 10 -3

14-Feb 21-Feb 3.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

7-Mar 14-Mar 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 2.6 x 10 -3

4-Apr 11-Apr 3.7 x 10 -4 nd 4.8 x 10 -3

2-May 8-May 3.3 x 10 -4 nd 4.6 x 10 -3

7-Jun 13-Jun 2.7 x 10 -4 nd 3.1 x 10 -3

11-Jul 19-Jul 5.1 x 10 -4 nd 5.6 x 10 -3

1-Aug 8-Aug 2.1 x 10 -4 nd 3.3 x 10 -3

5-Sep 12-Sep 1.4 x 10 -4 nd 2.1 x 10 -3

3-Oct 10-Oct 2.5 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

7-Nov 14-Nov 1.7 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

19-Dec 27-Dec 1.0 x 10 -4 nd 2.8 x 10 -3

Note: nd = not detected (sample was analysed but the concentration of this radionuclide was below the limit of detection).

Radioactivity in airborne particulates (high-volume)

High-volume particulate samples were collected at Belfield (Dublin) during 2012 and 2013. A

new air sampler was commissioned in March 2013 and has a typical airflow rate of 900 m 3 /h

over a one week sampling period. The filters were bulked to represent a monthly sample and

analysed by high-resolution gamma spectrometry. Measured concentrations of caesium-137

and beryllium-7 are given in Table 6. The results from 2012 and 2013 were consistent with

measurements made in previous years and with expected concentrations arising from global

circulation of weapons test fallout (European Commission, 2009).

19


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 6. Radioactivity in airborne particulates (high-volume), Belfield (Dublin), 2012–2013

Sampling period Concentration in air (Bq/m 3 )

Start date End date Cs-137 Be-7

2012

5-Dec 2011 12-Jan 4.9 x 10 -7 2.5 x 10 -3

12-Jan 6-Feb 11 x 10 -7 3.2 x 10 -3

4-Apr 11-May 2.1 x 10 -7 3.5 x 10 -3

20-Jun 25-Jul 1.5 x 10 -7 2.2 x 10 -3

25-Aug 3-Sep 1.5 x 10 -7 2.4 x 10 -3

3-Sep 2-Oct 5.1 x 10 -7 8.2 x 10 -3

8-Nov 7-Dec 8.3 x 10 -7 6.4 x 10 -3

Mean 4.9 x 10 -7 4.1 x 10 -3

2013

7-Dec 2012 9-Jan 15 x 10 -7 8.7 x 10 -3

6-Feb 6-Mar 20 x 10 -7 6.9 x 10 -3

6-Mar 4-Apr 4.4 x 10 -7 2.5 x 10 -3

4-Apr 2-May 5.7 x 10 -7 2.4 x 10 -3

2-May 30-May 2.5 x 10 -7 2.4 x 10 -3

30-May 27-Jun 1.8 x 10 -7 2.4 x 10 -3

27-Jun 26-Jul 7.2 x 10 -7 2.2 x 10 -3

26-Jul 30-Aug 2.4 x 10 -7 1.9 x 10 -3

30-Aug 27-Sep 3.1 x 10 -7 2.4 x 10 -3

27-Sep 1-Nov 2.6 x 10 -7 1.9 x 10 -3

1-Nov 28-Nov 2.7 x 10 -7 2.1 x 10 -3

Mean 6.1 x 10 -7 3.3 x 10 -3

Note: A new air sampler was commissioned on 6 March 2013. Coverage was patchy during 2012 and the start of 2013 due to

intermittent malfunction of the old equipment.

Radiation doses from inhalation of airborne caesium-137

Annual radiation doses due to inhalation of airborne caesium-137 in 2012 and 2013 (as

measured in high-volume airborne particulates) were calculated from the mean annual activity

concentrations of this radionuclide as set out in Table 6. Committed effective dose coefficients

were taken from the Basic Safety Standards Directive (European Commission, 1996). A

breathing rate of 22.2 m3/day of air was assumed (Smith and Simmonds, 2009). The doses

were calculated to be 1.5 x 10-4 µSv and 1.9 x 10-4 µSv for 2012 and 2013 respectively. These

are in broad agreement with the values reported in recent years (see Table 7) with the exception

of 2011 in which the figure was higher, though still radiologically insignificant, as a result of

elevated airborne levels of this radionuclide due to the Fukushima nuclear accident.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 7. Annual committed effective doses due to inhalation of airborne caesium-137, 2001-

2013

Year

Average Cs-137 concentration in air

(Bq/m 3 )

Annual committed effective dose

(µSv)

2001/02 22 x 10 -7 5.8 x 10 -4

2003 16 x 10 -7 4.3 x 10 -4

2004 3.4 x 10 -7 0.9 x 10 -4

2005 2.9 x 10 -7 0.8 x 10 -4

2006 4.0 x 10 -7 1.1 x 10 -4

2007 3.7 x 10 -7 1.0 x 10 -4

2008 2.8 x 10 -7 0.7 x 10 -4

2009 3.0 x 10 -7 0.8 x 10 -4

2010 6.2 x 10 -7 2.0 x 10 -4

2011 98 x 10 -7 30.9 x 10 -4

2012 4.9 x 10 -7 1.5 x 10 -4

2013 6.1 x 10 -7 1.9 x 10 -4

External gamma dose rate

External gamma dose rates were recorded every minute by a network of fifteen stations in

2012 and 2013. These readings were automatically transmitted at hourly intervals to the EPA’s

database at its Clonskeagh office. This network is an important component of the EPA’s early

warning arrangements for elevated levels of radioactivity in the atmosphere. Recent data from

each station can be viewed on the EPA website (http://www.epa.ie/radiation/monassess/

mapmon/). Each station has an alarm that is triggered in the event of a high reading or a

technical failure.

The minimum and maximum external gamma dose rate readings for each month, at each of

the fifteen stations around Ireland, are presented in Tables 8. The ranges were similar to those

reported in previous years. No abnormally high readings were observed at any of the stations

during 2012 and 2013.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 8a. External gamma dose rates (terrestrial), 2012

Location

Monthly ranges (nSv/h)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

2012

Ballyrichard a 92-104 91-100 91-105 93-117 90-108 90-144 92-95 - - - - -

Birr b 66-76 65-71 63-75 66-80 64-74 - - - - - - -

Cahirciveen c - - - - 78-91 79-99 78-96 78-96 77-90 78-89 77-89 76-92

Casement 74-85 73-82 70-82 74-90 71-91 72-104 70-93 71-107 70-94 72-88 73-87 74-91

Clones c - - - 76-82 73-83 73-89 72-85 71-100 72-93 74-86 74-83 75-100

Clonskeagh 115-125 113-123 111-124 114-131 110-125 111-145 109-128 110-140 111-132 114-129 113-128 116-133

Coolgreany 100-111 98-107 99-110 101-121 98-122 100-142 97-125 98-135 99-131 98-112 96-110 97-134

Cork Airport 79-98 79-90 79-96 82-94 81-102 81-110 82-99 80-124 81-94 82-100 80-100 79-99

Dundalk 99-112 98-107 97-107 102-121 100-114 102-119 100-119 100-128 100-122 100-114 99-111 99-138

Gurteen b - - 75-86 75-89 74-84 76-105 75-90 76-109 76-97 77-87 76-87 77-91

Kilmeadan 87-101 85-93 85-109 89-105 86-101 86-129 85-102 84-125 86-115 87-101 85-114 87-106

Kiltrough 88-96 86-92 85-95 87-100 84-95 86-109 83-103 84-112 85-110 85-103 85-97 85-113

Knock

Airport 68-82 67-80 66-83 68-78 67-80 68-95 67-80 67-97 67-84 68-85 68-81 69-90

Malin Head 68-83 68-75 66-77 69-79 68-81 69-94 68-87 68-99 67-86 67-80 68-79 67-93

Mullingard - - 62-72 64-77 64-74 65-87 65-79 64-106 65-85 65-80 65-75 65-88

Rosslare 74-83 72-81 73-90 76-95 74-95 74-118 73-108 73-126 75-98 74-89 72-99 72-92

Shannon

Airport 79-91 78-85 77-90 80-92 78-89 80-104 78-97 78-105 78-97 79-91 79-92 79-92

2013

Cahirciveen 75-90 75-91 77-89 75-87 77-95 77-89 78-93 80-88 79-125 77-98 78-93 78-122

Casement 71-91 73-88 74-104 71-82 71-87 71-82 72-87 74-85 73-87 74-117 72-88 73-93

Clones 73-92 73-84 73-92 72-83 72-92 71-81 69-87 73-82 73-87 73-92 73-84 73-93

Clonskeagh 114-131 114-129 114-142 112-124 110-125 111-123 112-126 114-129 115-130 114-145 114-127 115-129

Coolgreany e 97-133 96-116 97-132 98-111 99-114 99-116 - - 102-135 98-144 96-108 96-120

Cork Airport 80-99 79-87 80-116 79-101 81-110 84-100 88-99 86-94 88-132 83-128 81-92 81-137

Dundalk 98-125 99-112 100-151 99-114 99-115 101-115 104-119 107-120 108-123 104-135 101-112 102-117

Gurteen 76-90 75-89 76-95 75-85 74-88 76-93 77-90 78-85 78-96 85-79 74-86 76-92

Kilmeadan 84-105 86-94 87-126 86-98 87-101 88-100 92-103 92-108 102-142 93-151 90-99 90-139

Kiltrough 84-101 85-96 85-121 83-94 84-98 84-95 85-100 86-100 88-103 86-121 84-95 84-102

Knock

Airport 67-87 68-79 68-92 68-80 67-91 67-80 67-88 67-79 67-86 67-107 67-80 68-95

Malin Head 67-125 67-80 67-89 67-87 67-93 66-82 68-84 68-78 68-87 68-88 66-81 66-86

Mullingar 64-84 64-74 66-97 65-76 65-77 64-79 64-77 66-75 65-80 65-108 64-76 65-83

Rosslare 72-93 72-80 73-95 74-86 75-90 77-86 78-90 77-86 77-98 76-112 72-84 74-110

Shannon

Airport 78-89 79-87 79-91 78-91 77-89 78-89 80-93 80-88 81-99 80-101 78-89 79-96

Notes: a The Ballyrichard system was removed from the network in July 2012 following completion of the commissioning of the nearby

Coolgreany system. b Commissioning of the Gurteen system was completed in March 2012. The Birr system was subsequently removed

from the network in May 2012. c The Clones and Cahirciveen systems were out of service until April and May 2012 respectively. d

Commissioning of the Mullingar system was completed in March 2012. e The Coolgreany system was out of service during the period July

to August 2013.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Rainwater

Rainwater was collected on a monthly basis at eight stations (as indicated in Table 4) so that,

in the event of an accidental release of radionuclides into the atmosphere, concentrations in

rainwater could quickly be assessed. Where enough rain had fallen to provide an appropriate

sample volume, samples collected at the Clonskeagh site were analysed for Cs-137 and other

gamma-emitting radionuclides by high resolution gamma spectrometry. All measurements of

caesium-137 were below the level of detection.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

3. Radioactivity in foodstuffs and drinking water

Foodstuffs

The European Commission advises member states to carry out routine measurement of

radioactivity in milk and mixed diet (European Commission, 2000). In particular, it recommends

measuring levels of caesium-137 and strontium-90 in milk, as these radionuclides may

concentrate in milk in the event of an accidental release of radioactivity from a nuclear facility

abroad. Milk is also of particular importance as a foodstuff for children.

Radioactivity in milk

Milk samples were taken monthly at four processing plants in different parts of the country, in

counties Cork, Kilkenny, Monaghan and Roscommon. For three locations – Cork, Monaghan

and Roscommon – raw milk samples were bulked quarterly and analysed for strontium-90 and

caesium-137 in line with the Commission’s recommendation. Table 9 presents the results of

these analyses for 2012 and 2013. Potassium-40 (K-40) is a naturally occurring radionuclide

and was measured for quality control purposes. In all cases where strontium-90 was detected,

concentrations were below 1 Bq/l. Caesium-137 was detected on two occasions only during

the reporting period. Because of the difference in analytical techniques, the detection limit for

strontium-90 is lower than that for caesium-137 (see Table 3).

The 2009 peer review of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme

recommended that iodine-131 levels in milk should be monitored in addition to those for

caesium-137 and strontium-90 (Mitchell et al., 2009). As a result, monthly samples from a

single processing plant in Kilkenny were analysed by gamma spectrometry. As iodine-131 is

a short-lived radionuclide, samples were analysed as soon as possible after delivery at the

EPA radioanalytical laboratory. The results of this monthly sampling and analysis from the

Kilkenny plant for caesium-137, iodine-131 and potassium-40 are presented in Table 10. Neither

caesium-137 or iodine-131 were detected in any samples during the reporting period. Following

rapid analyses of these samples by gamma spectrometry they were bulked on a quarterly basis

and analysed for Sr-90 by liquid scintillation counting. The results are also included in Table 10.

Table 9. Radioactivity in milk

County

Concentration (Bq/l)

Sr-90 Cs-137 K-40 Sr-90 Cs-137 K-40 Sr-90 Cs-137 K-40 Sr-90 Cs-137 K-40

Jan-Mar Apr-Jun Jul-Sep Oct-Dec

2012

Cork nd nd 43.2 nd nd 40.1 nd nd 53.1 0.033 nd 43.9

Monaghan nd nd 49.0 nd nd 50.4 nd nd 51.7 0.060 nd 46.5

Roscommon nd nd 40.9 nd nd 42.7 0.041 nd 51.8 nd nd 43.9

2013

Cork nd 0.1 47.1 0.057 nd 43.6 0.039 nd 55.4 nd nd 40.5

Monaghan nd nd 47.8 nd nd 43.4 0.034 nd 46.5 nd nd 58.7

Roscommon nd nd 45.1 0.020 nd 40.0 0.025 nd 46.3 nd nd 44.9

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 10. Radioactivity in milk, Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny

Sampling period

Concentration (Bq/l)

Cs-137 I-131 K-40 Sr-90

2012

Jan nd nd 40.9

Feb nd nd 47.2

nd

Mar nd nd 49.6

Apr nd nd 53.1

May nd nd 41.0

nd

Jun nd nd 48.9

Jul nd nd 50.6

Aug nd nd 44.0

0.038

Sep nd nd 50.4

Oct nd nd 47.9

Nov nd nd 45.9

0.067

Dec nd nd 44.4

Mean - - 47.0

2013

Jan nd nd 51.8

Feb nd nd 48.2

nd

Mar nd nd 45.0

Apr nd nd 45.2

May nd nd 53.0

0.040

Jun - - -

Jul nd nd 47.2

Aug nd nd 44.1

nd

Sep nd nd 47.7

Oct nd nd 39.1

Nov nd nd 44.4

nd

Dec nd nd 40.9

Mean - - 46.0

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

Radiation doses from consumption of milk

Annual committed effective doses to adults and children from the consumption of milk were

estimated for strontium-90 and caesium-137. Doses were calculated using the mean of measured

concentrations for these radionuclides (Tables 9 and 10). Ingestion dose coefficients for adults

and infants were taken from the Basic Safety Standards Directive (European Commission, 1996)

(Table 11). Typical milk consumption rates for adults and children were derived from the results

25


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

of the National Adult Nutrition Survey (IUNA, 2011) and the National Pre-school Nutrition Survey

(IUNA, 2012) respectively. Based on these, the mean milk consumption for an adult male and a

child (1 year old) in Ireland has been estimated as 78 kg/year and 150 kg/year respectively (IUNA,

2015). The figure for adults includes the contribution from both whole and semi-skimmed milk

and from other milks. The figure for children includes contributions from these milks as well as

infant formula and growing up milks.

In calculating the dose for strontium-90 it is assumed that its daughter product yttrium-90 is in

equilibrium.

Table 11. Ingestion dose coefficients for radionuclides detected in milk

Radionuclide Category Dose coefficient (Sv/Bq)

Cs-137 Infant 2.1 x 10 -8

Adult 1.3 x 10 -8

Sr-90 Infant 2.3 x 10 -7

Adult 2.8 x 10 -8

Y-90 Infant 3.1 x 10 -8

Source: ICRP (1996).

Adult 2.7 × 10 -9

The calculated doses for consumption of milk are dominated by strontium-90, as shown in Table

12. Doses to infants from strontium-90 were estimated to be 1.66 µSv in 2012 and 1.24 µSv in

2013. The annual committed effective doses due milk consumption for both adults and infants

in 2012 and 2013 are radiologically insignificant.

Table 12. Annual committed effective dose from radionuclides in milk, 2012–2013

Radionuclide Category Average

concentration (Bq/l)

Annual committed effective

dose (µSv)

2012

Cs-137 Infant - -

Adult -

Sr-90 Infant 0.048 1.66

Adult 0.10

Y-90 Infant 0.048 0.22

Adult 0.01

Total Infant 1.88

Adult 0.11

2013

Cs-137 Infant 0.1 0.32

Adult 0.10

Sr-90 Infant 0.036 1.24

Adult 0.08

Y-90 Infant 0.036 0.17

Adult 0.01

Total Infant 1.72

Adult 0.19

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Radioactivity in mixed diet foodstuffs

In 2012 and 2013, complete meals (mixed diet) from restaurant facilities in Dublin were sampled

and analysed for gamma-emitting radionuclides on a monthly basis. This sampling strategy has

been implemented on the basis that, as modern food distribution networks are extensive and

that regional variations regarding consumption in Ireland are not significant, it is more effective

to monitor mixed diet at a single location with a higher sampling frequency rather than from

multiple locations.

The results of these measurements of mixed diet samples are provided in Table 13. With the

exception of one, all measurements of caesium-137 concentrations during 2012 and 2013 were

below the level of detection. Potassium-40 (K-40) is a naturally occurring radionuclide and was

measured for quality control purposes.

Table 13. Radioactivity in mixed diet samples, Co Dublin

Sampling period

Concentration (Bq/kg)

Cs-137 K-40

2012

Jan 0.044 79.6

Feb nd 68.1

Mar nd 67.8

Apr nd 23.9

May nd 77.8

Jun nd 58.0

Aug nd 17.1

Sep nd 70.5

Oct nd 77.0

Nov nd 92.4

Dec nd 81.8

Mean - 64.9

2013

Jan nd 62.9

Feb nd 68.4

Mar nd 61.7

Apr nd 46.1

May nd 67.3

Jun nd 47.4

Jul nd 66.4

Aug nd 81.3

Sep nd 85.9

Oct nd 113

Nov nd 80.7

Dec nd 122

Mean - 75.3

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 14. Radioactivity in grain samples

Sampling

location

Type

Concentration (Bq/kg)

Cs-137 K-40

2012

Cork Wheat nd 126

Kildare Barley nd 119

Louth Oats nd 100

Louth Wheat nd 84

Wexford Wheat nd 80

2013

Kildare Barley nd 108

Louth Oats nd 136

Louth Oats nd 121

Louth Wheat nd 124

Tipperary Barley nd 87

Wexford Wheat nd 56

In conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, grain samples from

various locations nationwide were sampled and screened for gamma-emitting radionuclides

following the 2012 and 2013 harvests. The results are shown in Table 14. All activities in these

samples were below the limit of detection of 5 Bq/kg.

On request, the EPA provides a service to test and certify the levels of radionuclides in Irish

produce which may be required by producers exporting to certain markets outside of the EU.

Certificates of Radioactivity Measurement are issued on the basis of both individual sample

results for the product concerned and the national environmental radioactivity monitoring

programme. In 2012 and 2013, a range of meat, dairy and processed food products were

screened for gamma-emitting radionuclides as part of the product certification programme –

481 in 2012 and 375 in 2013. Concentrations were detected in just in two samples, both infant

dried food samples from April and November 2012 containing 3.2 Bq/kg and 2.5 Bq/kg of

Cs-137 respectively.

Drinking water

Radioactivity in drinking water supplies has been monitored since 1982. This monitoring has

focused primarily on major surface drinking water supplies serving large populations. Currently

the EPA routinely measures samples from major water supplies in rotation so that supplies from

every county are sampled approximately every four years. Major supplies are defined here as

those serving a population of 10,000 or more or the largest supply in a county.

Where possible, drinking water was sampled at the point at which the treated water was

released into the distribution network. Drinking water samples were acidified with nitric acid as

soon as practicable after sampling to minimise the adsorption of radionuclides on the walls of

the sample container. Samples were evaporated to dryness and analysed for gross alpha and

gross beta activities respectively.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Drinking water samples were assessed for compliance with the total indicative dose (TID),

a parametric standard for radioactivity set out in the Drinking Water Directive (European

Communities, 1998b). In carrying out these assessments, the World Health Organization (WHO)

methodology which sets screening limits based on gross alpha and beta activities (WHO, 1993)

has been followed. This methodology is described in Appendix 1.

The results from the programme to monitor radioactivity in major drinking water supplies are

presented in Table 15. In 2012 and 2013, supplies from counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork,

Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Portlaoise,

Waterford and Wicklow were tested. All drinking water supplies tested were found to be in

compliance with the screening limits, and hence with the TID.

Table 15. Gross alpha and gross beta activity concentrations in drinking water, 2012–2013

County Supply Concentration (mBq/l) Compliance

with TID

Gross alpha Gross beta

2012

Carlow Rathvilly nd 46.5 Yes

Cavan Knockataggart nd 150 Yes

Clare Ennis nd 73.8 Yes

Cork Lee Road nd 73.5 Yes

Inniscarra nd 63.6 Yes

Donegal Letterkenny 9.0 54.4 Yes

Pollan Dam nd 24.8 Yes

Rosses Regional nd 34.4 Yes

Lough Mourne nd 24.6 Yes

Dublin Ballyboden nd 36.5 Yes

Kildare Leixlip nd 48.4 Yes

Ballymore Eustace nd 32.9 Yes

Wicklow Roundwood/Callow Hill 15.4 50.0 Yes

2013

Galway Ballinasloe nd 73.9 Yes

Tuam nd 78.9 Yes

Kerry Lisarboola 3.0 19.2 Yes

Kildare Leixlip nd 79.6 Yes

Kilkenny Kilkenny City nd 103 Yes

Leitrim South Leitrim nd 75.3 Yes

Limerick Limerick City nd 85.1 Yes

Longford Longford Central nd 70.9 Yes

Portlaoise Portlaoise nd 69.9 Yes

Waterford Waterford City 7.8 54.2 Yes

Wicklow Ballymore Eustace nd 27.0 Yes

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

4. Radioactivity in the marine environment

Marine radioactivity

The focus of the marine environmental radioactivity monitoring programme is to assess the

radiation doses to the Irish population arising from discharges from the Sellafield reprocessing

plant and to assess geographic and temporal distribution of artificial radionuclides in the marine

environment. The artificial radionuclides of greatest concern from a dose point of view are

caesium-137, technetium-99 and actinides (isotopes of plutonium and americium). For the last

number of years, the following measures have been taken to assess marine radioactivity levels:

\\

Caesium-137, technetium-99 and isotopes of plutonium are measured in seafood to

determine the ingestion dose to the Irish public;

\\

Caesium-137 and technetium-99 and are measured in seawater and seaweed to study

geographic and temporal trends; and

\\

Caesium-137 is measured in sediment to monitor levels of radionuclides from historic

discharges: remobilisation from sediments is now the predominant source of marine

radioactivity in the Irish Sea.

Samples of a wide range of fish and shellfish species were collected from commercial landings at

major Irish fishing ports and aquaculture areas. Seawater and seaweed were also collected from

coastal sites while seawater samples were taken at offshore sites in the western Irish Sea with

the assistance of the Naval Service. It should be noted that some of the offshore monitoring

locations have been revised with respect to previous marine environmental radioactivity

monitoring programmes. Specifically, locations N4, N5 and N6 have been replaced by N8, N9

and N10. In collaboration with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, seawater samples

were also collected from Ards on the north-east coast.

The range of samples collected at each location in 2012 and 2013 is given in Table 16 and

the locations are shown in Figure 6. The sampling frequency for each site, which ranged

from monthly to once every two years, reflects the resolution judged necessary to assess

the population dose and to identify important trends. Initial preparation of fish and shellfish

samples included cleaning and separation of the edible portion for analysis. Seaweed samples

were washed to remove all sediment and other extraneous material. Fish, shellfish, seaweed

and sediment samples were then dried to constant weight, pulverised and thoroughly

mixed. Samples were analysed by high resolution gamma spectrometry for gamma-emitting

radionuclides, most notably caesium-137. Selected individual and bulked samples were analysed

for technetium-99, plutonium-238 and plutonium-239, 240. Seawater (coastal and offshore)

was analysed for caesium-137 and technetium-99 using the techniques outlined in Table 3.

The low radio-toxicity of tritium meant that it was not previously included as a radionuclide of

interest in Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme. However, in order to

fulfil Ireland’s commitments under the OSPAR Convention and to establish baseline levels, the

RPII undertook a project in 2008–2010 to determine the levels of tritium in the Irish marine

environment. The results were reported in 2013 (Currivan et al. 2013).

Concentrations of tritium in seawater samples taken around the Irish coastline were found to

be low. However, the UK has indicated that discharges of tritium from Sellafield may increase

temporarily during the period between 2012 and 2017 as a result of decommissioning work.

Consequently, it was decided that measurement of this radionuclide at the seawater sampling

locations should continue as part of the routine monitoring programme during this period.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

A project to assess radioactivity levels in Carlingford Lough was started in 2011. This is a followup

to previous studies completed in the 1990s (Mitchell et al., 1992; Long et al., 1999), and will

allow assessment of changes in measured environmental concentrations. A report is due to be

published in 2015.

Table 16. Marine environmental radioactivity monitoring programme, 2012–2013

Sampling location Seawater Marine

sediments

Seaweed Fish Shellfish

Ards, Co. Down Annually - - - -

Ballagan, Co Louth Quarterly Bi-monthly Bi-monthly - -

Carlingford, Co. Louth - - - - Quarterly

Clogherhead, Co.

Louth

Dunmore East/

Woodstown, Co.

Waterford

- - - Quarterly Quarterly

Biennially a - Biennially a - -

Killybegs, Co. Donegal - - - Annually -

Kilmore Quay,

Co. Wexford

N1 – Irish Sea,

53:25N 6:01W

N2 – Irish Sea,

53:36N 5:56W

N3 – Irish Sea,

53:44N 5:25W

N8 – Irish Sea,

53:40N 5:19W

N9 – Irish Sea,

53:45N 5:39W

N10 – Irish Sea,

53:50N 5:55W

- - - Annually -

Annually b - - - -

Annually b - - - -

Annually b - - - -

Annually b - - - -

Annually b - - - -

Annually b - - - -

Salthill, Co. Galway Biennially a - Biennially a - -

Notes: a 2012 programme. b Samples not collected in 2012 programme.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

North

Channel

Killybegs

Ards

Sellafield

Carlingford

Ballagan

Isle of Man

Clogherhead

N10

N9

N2

N3

N8

Irish Sea

Salthill

N1

Dunmore East / Woodstown

Kilmore Quay

Figure 6. Marine sampling locations, 2012–2013

Radioactivity in seawater

The results of the analyses of caesium-137 and tritium in coastline and offshore seawater (in the

western Irish Sea) are presented in Table 17. The mean concentrations of caesium-137 at each

location in 2012 and 2013 (Figure 7) are in line with the previously established geographical

distribution of caesium-137. The highest concentrations of Sellafield-derived caesium-137 are

found on the north-east coast, and this is consistent with the known water circulation patterns

in the Irish Sea.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 17. Radioactivity in seawater, 2012–2013

Sampling location Month Concentration (Bq/l)

2012

H-3 Cs-137

Ards Jun nd 0.010

Ballagan Feb nd 0.010

May 1.15 0.010

Jul nd 0.012

Oct - 0.013

Mean - 0.011

Dunmore East Jul nd 0.002

Salthill Jun nd 0.001

2013

Ards Jul nd 0.007

Ballagan Feb - 0.008

May - 0.005

Jul nd 0.008

Nov - 0.008

Mean - 0.007

Irish Sea – N1 Jan - 0.007

Irish Sea – N2 Jan nd 0.006

Irish Sea – N3 Jan nd 0.004

Irish Sea – N8 Jan - 0.002

Irish Sea – N9 Jan - 0.002

Irish Sea – N10 Jan - 0.007

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

Caesium-137 concentrations in seawater from Balbriggan between 1993 and 2010 and from

Ballagan from 2011 onwards are shown in Figure 8. The data reveals a downward trend in the

period 1993–2000, reflecting the reduction in caesium-137 discharges from Sellafield during

this period (Figure 2). Since 2000, discharges have remained relatively constant and this is

reflected in seawater concentrations measured between 2000 and 2013. It has been shown

that remobilisation of historic discharges into the water column from sediments is now the main

source of caesium-137 in seawater from the western Irish Sea (Poole et al., 1997).

A similar trend is observed in caesium-137 concentrations in seawater at offshore monitoring

locations in the Irish Sea between 1984 and 2011 (Figure 9). The caesium-137 concentrations

along the south and west coasts are lower than those in the Irish Sea and are now close to levels

typical of global weapons fallout at this latitude. Concentrations in seawater from along these

coasts have remained stable since the mid-1990s.

33


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

North

Channel

Ards

2012: 0.01

2013: 0.007

Sellafield

Isle of Man

Ballagan 2012: 0.011,

2013: 0.007

Irish Sea

N10 2013: 0.007 N9 2013: 0.002

N3 2013: 0.004

N2 2013: 0.006

N8 2013: 0.002

Salthill 2012: 0.01

N1 2013: 0.007

Dunmore East / Woodstown 2012: 0.002

Figure 7. Mean caesium-137 concentrations (Bq/l) in seawater, 2012–2013

0.08

0.07

Activity concentration (Bq/l)

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

Balbriggan

Ballagan

0.01

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Year

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Figure 8. Caesium-137 concentrations in seawater from east-coast locations, 1993-2013

34


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

0.35

Activity concentration (Bq/l)

0.3

0.25

0.2

0.15

0.1

N1

N2

N3

N4

N5

N6

N7

N8

N9

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

0

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

0.05

0

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year

Figure 9. Caesium-137 concentrations in seawater from offshore monitoring locations in the

Irish Sea, 1985 – 2013

As shown in Table 17, tritium was detectable in just one sample from Ballagan taken in May

2012.

Direct measurements of technetium-99 in seawater ceased at the end of 2010 as a result of the

low levels of this radionuclide measured in recent years and in line with the recommendations

of the 2009 peer review of Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme. Since

then estimates of levels of technetium-99 in seawater have been derived using seaweed (Fucus

vesiculosis) as a bio-indicator, i.e. concentrations of technetium-99 in Fucus vesiculosis measured

at Ballagan (Table 19) have been combined with a concentration factor of 3 x 10 4 (IAEA, 2004;

Harvey and Kershaw, 1984). Technetium-99 concentrations in seawater from Balbriggan and

Ballagan for the period 1995 to 2013 are shown in Figure 10. Concentrations at Balbriggan

peaked in 1997 with a mean annual concentration of 0.045 Bq/l. Following the implementation

of the tetraphenylphosphonium bromide waste treatment process at Sellafield in 2004, there

has been a reduction in the discharges of this radionuclide and a corresponding reduction in

concentrations in seawater can be observed.

35


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

0.08

0.07

Activity concentration (Bq/l)

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

Balbriggan

Ballagan (derived)

0.02

0.01

0

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year

Figure 10. Technetium-99 concentrations in seawater (Bq/l), 1995-2013

Radioactivity in sediment

Caesium-137 concentrations in sediment samples collected at Ballagan are shown in Table 18.

These results are consistent with the data reported for the same area in recent environmental

radioactivity monitoring reports (McGinnity et al., 2012b).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 18. Cs-137 concentration in marine sediments, 2012–2013

Sampling location Month Concentration

(Bq/kg, dry weight)

2012

Ballagan Feb 5.6

Mar 3.5

May 5.6

Jul 4.3

Sep 4.6

Oct 5.6

Mean 4.7

2013

Ballagan Feb 5.0

Mar 3.2

May 3.7

Jul 5.2

Sep 3.9

Nov 4.5

Mean 4.1

Radioactivity in seaweed

The results for caesium-137 and technetium-99 concentrations in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis)

are given in Table 19. These results are presented on a dry weight basis. An estimate of the fresh

weight concentration may be obtained using the mean dry–to-fresh weight ratios of 0.17 and

0.18 calculated for 2012 and 2013 samples respectively.

Figure 11 presents mean caesium-137 concentrations in seaweed sampled from Balbriggan

between 1982 and 2010 and from Ballagan between 2010 and 2013. The data show that

concentrations of this radionuclide in seaweed at these sites have remained relatively constant

since the mid-1990s.

Figure 12 presents the technetium-99 concentrations in seaweed from Balbriggan for the period

1989 to 2010 and from Ballagan for the period 2010–2013. A similar pattern is observed to that

for seawater (Figure 10) with concentrations from the north-east coastline peaking between late

1997 and early 1998, and reducing significantly over the last few years.

37


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 19. Radioactivity in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis), 2012–2013

Sampling location Month Concentration

(Bq/kg, dry weight)

Tc-99

Cs-137

2012

Ballagan Feb 308 1.65

Mar 1.67

May 2.83

Jul 2.51

Sep 2.64

Oct 2.17

Mean - 2.25

Dunmore East Jul - 0.55

Salthill Jun - 0.14

2013

Ballagan Feb 313 2.39

Mar 289 1.98

May 318 2.96

Jul 209 1.27

Sep 181 1.54

Nov 161 1.39

Mean 245 1.92

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

220

200

Activity concentration (Bq/kg, dry)

180

160

140

120

100

80

60

Balbriggan

Ballagan

40

20

0

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year

Figure 11. Mean caesium-137 concentrations in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis, Bq/kg, dry) from

east coast locations, 1982-2013

8000

6000

4000

2000

Balbriggan

Ballagan

0

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Activity concentration (Bq/kg, dry)

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Year

Figure 12. Technetium-99 concentrations in seaweed (Fucus vesiculosis, Bq/kg, dry) from east

coast locations (Balbriggan and Ballagan), 1988-2013

39


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Radioactivity in fish and shellfish

The results of radioactivity measurements in fish and shellfish collected from major Irish fishing

ports and aquaculture areas are shown in Tables 20-22. It should be noted that for fish, lobsters

and prawns the attributed sampling location represents the landing port. For farmed and wild

mussels, oysters and winkles this is the true sampling location. All results are presented on a

fresh weight basis.

Table 20. Caesium-137 concentrations in fish, 2012–2013

Sampling location Month Concentration (Bq/kg, fresh weight)

Cod Haddock Mackerel Plaice Ray

2012

Clogherhead Feb 0.38 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.45

May 0.29 0.09 0.10 0.67 0.46

Jul 0.49 0.06 0.12 0.36 0.44

Oct 0.12 0.10 0.23 0.10 0.48

Mean 0.32 0.08 0.13 0.29 0.46

Killybegs May 0.14 0.11 0.06 0.05 0.09

Kilmore Quay Jul 0.14 0.08 - 0.43 0.46

2013

Clogherhead Feb 0.13 0.11 0.03 0.05 0.31

May 0.62 0.39 0.05 0.04 0.32

Jul 1.09 0.05 0.12 0.13 0.61

Oct 0.46 0.06 0.04 0.07 0.21

Mean 0.58 0.15 0.06 0.07 0.36

Killybegs Jul 0.20 0.09 0.16 0.13 0.17

Kilmore Quay Apr 0.20 0.06 - 0.06 0.22

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 21. Caesium-137 concentrations in shellfish, 2012–2013

Sampling

location

Month

Concentration (Bq/kg, fresh weight)

Lobster Mussels Wild

mussels

2012

Oysters Prawns Winkles

Carlingford Feb - 0.04 - 0.05 - -

May 0.28 - - - - -

Jun - - 0.26 0.12 - 0.32

Jul - - 0.25 0.14 - -

Oct - - 0.19 0.07 - -

Nov 0.17 - - - - -

Mean 0.23 - 0.23 0.10 - -

Clogherhead Feb - - - - nd -

May - - - - 0.06 -

July 0.30 - - - 0.03 -

Oct 0.23 - - - 0.06 -

Mean 0.27 - - - 0.05 -

2013

Carlingford Jan - - - - - -

Feb - - 0.17 0.07 - -

May - - 0.22 0.08 - -

Jul - 0.38 - 0.17 - 1.03

Sep - - - - - -

Oct - 0.11 - 0.12 - -

Mean - 0.25 0.20 0.11 - -

Clogherhead Feb 0.25 - - - nd -

May 0.41 - - - 0.03 -

Jul 0.29 - - - 0.05 -

Oct 0.38 - - - nd -

Mean 0.33 - - - 0.04 -

Note: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection).

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 22. Technetium-99 and plutonium-238, 239 and 240 concentrations in fish and

shellfish, 2012–2013

Sampling

location

Species

Concentration (Bq/kg, fresh weight)

Tc-99 Pu-238 Pu-239,240 Am-241

2012

Carlingford Lobster 3.14 nd 0.007 0.005

Mussels 0.72 nd 0.026 0.046

Wild mussels 8.6 - - -

Oysters 0.90 nd 0.004 0.020

Winkles 0.71 - - -

Clogherhead Fish a nd - - -

Lobster 8.15 - - -

Prawns 0.09 - - -

2013

Carlingford Mussels 0.98 nd nd 0.050

Oysters 0.32 nd 0.005 0.020

Winkles 4.8 - - -

Clogherhead Fisha nd - - nd

Lobster 5.4 0.009 0.047 0.007

Prawns nd 0.006 0.035 nd

Notes: nd = not detected (the sample was analysed but levels were below the limit of detection). a Cod, haddock, mackerel,

plaice, ray.

The caesium-137 concentrations in fish and shellfish measured in 2012 and 2013 were similar to

those recorded during the previous ten to twenty years. Most technetium-99, plutonium-238,

plutonium-239,240 and americium-141 concentrations in fish and shellfish samples analysed

were below detection limits. The mean concentrations of artificial radionuclides in fish and

shellfish landed at north-east ports are presented in Table 23.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 23. Mean concentrations of artificial radionuclides in fish and shellfish landed at

north-east ports, 2012–2013

Species type

Concentration (Bq/kg, fresh weight)

Tc-99 Cs-137 Pu-238 Pu-239,240 Am-241

2012

Fish a nd 0.25 - - -

Cod/haddock - 0.20 - - -

Lobster 5.65 0.25 nd 0.007 0.005

Mussels 0.72 0.04 nd 0.026 0.046

Wild mussels 8.60 0.23 - - -

Oysters 0.90 0.10 nd 0.004 0.020

Prawns 0.09 0.05 - - -

Winkles 0.71 0.32 - - -

Molluscs b 2.73 0.17 - 0.015 0.033

Crustaceans c 2.87 0.15 - 0.007 0.005

2013

Fish a nd 0.24 - - nd

Cod/haddock - 0.36 - - -

Lobster 5.4 0.33 0.009 0.047 0.007

Mussels 0.98 0.25 nd nd 0.027

Wild mussels - 0.20 - - -

Oysters 0.32 0.11 nd 0.005 0.020

Prawns nd 0.04 0.006 0.035 nd

Winkles 4.8 1.03 - - -

Molluscs b 2.02 0.40 - 0.005 0.024

Crustaceans c 5.36 0.19 0.008 0.041 0.007

Notes: a Cod, haddock, mackerel, plaice and ray. b Mussels, oysters and winkles. c Prawns and lobsters.

Radiation doses from consumption of fish and shellfish

For the purposes of the assessment of radiation doses from exposure to artificial radionuclides

in the marine environment, a habits survey was carried out in 2008 along the north-east coast

of Ireland (Cefas, 2008). Two critical groups were identified:

\\

Group A – commercial fishermen: a group of commercial fishermen who consume large

amounts of fish and crustaceans (26 kg fish and 10 kg crustaceans annually); and

\\

Group B – commercial oyster and mussel farmers working along the north-east coast

who consume large amounts of molluscs (25 kg annually).

The mean consumption rates of the different fish, crustacean and mollusc species used in the

critical group dose assessment, which were identified in the habits survey and weighted in 2012

to account for the inclusion of winkles and lobsters in the monitoring programme, are shown in

Table 24. Relevant ingestion dose coefficients were taken from ICRP (1996) and are presented

43


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

in Table 25. The annual committed effective doses due to the consumption of seafood for 2012

and 2013 were estimated by combining these consumption rates and dose coefficients with the

mean concentrations of artificial radionuclides measured in fish, crustaceans and molluscs from

north-east ports during the two years (Table 23). The north-east coast is the area in which the

highest levels of radioactivity attributable to Sellafield are observed.

Table 24. Weighted consumption rates for critical groups and for notional consumers

Consumer Species Annual consumption

rate (kg)

Group A Cod/Haddock/Whiting 11.5

Mackerel 10

Plaice 3.5

Ray 1

Fish Composite 26

Prawns 4.85

Lobster 4.85

Group B Mussels 20

Oysters 2.5

Winkles 2.5

Notional typical consumer Fish 15

Shellfish 1.8

Notional heavy consumer Fish 73

Shellfish 7.3

Source: CEFAS (2008).

Table 25. Adult ingestion dose coefficients for radionuclides detected in fish and shellfish

Radionuclide

Dose coefficient (Sv/Bq)

Tc-99 6.4 × 10 -10

Cs-137 1.3 x 10 -8

Pu-238 2.3 × 10 -7

Pu-239 2.5 × 10 -7

Pu-240 2.5 × 10 -7

Am-241 2.0 × 10 -7

Source: ICRP (1996).

The annual committed effective doses estimated for the commercial fisherman critical group

(Group A) and the oyster and mussel farmer critical group (Group B) were, respectively, 0.12 µSv and

0.44 µSv in 2012 and 0.23 µSv and 0.33 µSv in 2013. These dose calculations include contributions

from the artificial radionuclides technetium-99, caesium-137, plutonium-238,239,240 and

americium-241.

44


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

To allow comparison with previous years, the annual committed effective doses for the notional

typical and heavy consumers previously reported in environmental radioactivity monitoring

reports (e.g. McGinnity et al., 2012b) have also been calculated for 2012 and 2013. The

consumption rates used to derive the doses for these notional groups are included in Table 24.

Ingestion dose coefficients were again taken from ICRP (1996) (Table 25).

For both the typical and heavy consumer, shellfish consumption was assumed to be divided

equally between crustaceans and molluscs. The annual committed effective doses estimated for

the notional typical and heavy consumer groups were, respectively, 0.07 µSv and 0.32 µSv in

2012 and 0.08 µSv and 0.36 µSv in 2013.

The annual committed effective doses to both critical and notional consumer groups are

summarised in Table 26.

Table 26. Annual committed effective doses from artificial radionuclides due to consumption

of fish and shellfish landed at north-east ports, 2012 and 2013

Radionuclide

Annual committed effective dose (µSv)

Critical group A Critical group B Notional typical

consumer

Notional

heavy

consumer

2012

Tc-99 0.018 0.062 0.003 0.013

Cs-137 0.084 0.049 0.052 0.257

Pu-238 - - - -

Pu-239,240 0.008 0.133 0.005 0.020

Am-241 0.005 0.194 0.007 0.028

Total a 0.12 0.44 0.07 0.32

2013

Tc-99 0.017 0.021 0.004 0.017

Cs-137 0.094 0.094 0.053 0.260

Pu-238 0.017 - 0.003 0.013

Pu-239,240 0.099 0.003 0.010 0.042

Am-241 0.007 0.210 0.008 0.031

Total a 0.23 0.33 0.08 0.36

Note: a Totals have been rounded to 2 decimal places.

45


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Table 27. Annual committed effective doses from artificial radionuclides due to consumption

of fish and shellfish, 1982-2013

Year

Annual committed effective

dose (µsv)

Notional typical consumer

1982 13.80

1983 11.00

1984 9.40

1985 5.00

1986 3.80

1987 2.20

1988 1.40

1989 1.10

1990 0.94

1991 1.06

1992 0.74

1993 0.67

1994 0.51

1995 0.41

1996 0.34

1997 0.32

1998 0.32

1999 0.30

2000 0.26

2001 0.27

2002 0.17

2003 0.16

2004 0.17

2005 0.24

2006 0.16

2007 0.16

2008 0.09

2009 0.09

2010 0.07

2011 0.07

2012 0.07

2013 0.08

46


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

In 2012, the annual committed effective dose of 0.12 µSv to critical Group A was less than 0.02

per cent of the annual dose limit of 1000 µSv for members of the public from practices involving

controllable sources of radiation (Ireland, 2000.) In 2013, the annual committed effective dose

of 0.23 µSv to critical Group A was again less than 0.03 per cent of the annual dose limit. The

dominant contributor to dose for this critical group is the presence of trace levels of caesium-137

in fish and shellfish.

In 2012, the annual committed effective dose of 0.44 µSv to Group B consumers was less than

0.05 per cent of the annual dose limit to members of the public of 1000 µSv. In 2013, the annual

committed effective dose of 0.33 µSv to Group B consumers was less than 0.04 per cent of the

annual dose limit. The dominant contributors to dose for this critical group are the actinides

which are present in at trace levels in shellfish; in particular molluscs which tend to accumulate

plutonium.

The annual committed effective dose to the notional typical seafood consumer for the period

1982 to 2010 is shown in Figure 13 and Table 27. It can be seen that annual doses have

decreased steadily over this period, reflecting the overall reduction in Sellafield discharges.

These doses may be compared with those attributable to the presence of the naturally occurring

radionuclide, polonium-210 in seafood, which were estimated to be 32 µSv for notional typical

consumers (Pollard et al., 1998).

15

Committed effective dose (uSv)

12

9

6

3

0

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2013

Year

Figure 13. Annual committed effective dose to the typical seafood consumer, 1982-2013

47


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

5. Conclusions

During 2012 and 2013, a comprehensive programme of monitoring environmental radioactivity

in the Irish environment was implemented. This incorporated the sampling and measurement of

a wide range of foodstuffs and environmental samples.

Levels of radionuclides in airborne particulates were low and consistent with measurements

made in recent years. No abnormal external gamma dose rates were observed at any of the

continuous monitoring stations.

All drinking waters tested were found to comply with relevant national and EU standards for

water quality as regards levels of radioactivity.

Levels of radioactivity in milk were low and, for the majority of samples, below the detection

limits. Concentrations in mixed diet and a wide range of foodstuffs were low and, for the

majority of samples, below the detection limits.

The consumption of fish and shellfish from the Irish Sea continued to be the dominant pathway

by which radioactive contamination of the marine environment resulted in radiation exposure

of the Irish population.

The estimated annual committed effective doses to members of the two critical groups A

(commercial fishermen who consume large quantities of fish and crustaceans) and B (commercial

oyster and mussel farmers who consume large amounts of molluscs) were, respectively, 0.12 µSv

and 0.44 µSv in 2012 and 0.23 µSv and 0.33 µSv in 2013.

The doses incurred by the Irish public in 2012 and 2013 as a result of artificial radioactivity in

the environment are small when compared to national dose limits or natural radiation doses

received by the Irish public. The dose to the most exposed individuals during the reporting

period (members of the oyster and mussel farmers critical group) was much less than 0.1 per

cent of the annual dose limit of 1000 µSv for members of the public from practices involving

controllable sources of radiation. These doses are also small in comparison with the dose

received (32 µSv) by the notional typical consumer from polonium-210, a radionuclide that

occurs naturally in seafood. They may be further compared with the average annual dose to a

person in Ireland from all sources of radioactivity of 4037 µSv.

In general, levels of artificial radioactivity in the Irish environment remain fairly constant and

are broadly consistent with levels reported previously. It must be emphasised that the levels of

radioactive contamination present in the marine environment do not warrant any modification

of the habits of people in Ireland, either in their consumption of seafood or in any other use of

the amenities of the marine environment.

In summary, the results of the 2012 and 2013 environmental radioactivity monitoring programme

show that, while the levels of artificial radioactivity in the Irish environment remain detectable,

they are low and do not pose a significant risk to human health.

48


Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

6. Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the following who have made a

significant contribution to Ireland’s environmental radioactivity monitoring programme: the

staff of Met Éireann, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Sea Fisheries

Protection Authority, the Naval Service, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and

Local Government, the Department of Defence, University College Cork, University College

Dublin, NUI Galway, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, local authorities and town councils,

commercial producers and the Health Service Executive.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Cefas in the UK must also be acknowledged.

Finally, many thanks to other EPA staff who provided analytical support and assistance in the

preparation of this publication.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

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Ireland, 1991. Radiological Protection Act, Number 9 of 1991. Dublin: Stationery Office.

Ireland, 2000. Radiological Protection Act, 1991 (Ionising Radiation) Order, 2000, Statutory

Instrument No. 125 of 2000. Dublin: Stationery Office.

Ireland 2007. European Communities (Drinking Water), (No 2) Regulations, 2007, Statutory

Instrument No. 278 of 2007. Dublin: Stationery Office.

Ireland 2014. Radiological Protection (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2014, Bill No. 54 of 2014.

Dublin: Stationery Office.

ISO, 1995. ISO guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement. International Standards

Organisation, Geneva.

IUNA, 2011. National Adult Nutrition Survey. Irish Universities Nutritional Alliance. (Online)

(Cited: 6 May 2015) http://www.iuna.net.

IUNA, 2012. National Pre-school Nutrition Survey. Irish Universities Nutritional Alliance. . (Online)

(Cited: 6 May 2015) http://www.iuna.net.

IUNA, 2015, personal communication (Dr Janette Walton, School of Food and Nutritional

Sciences, University College Cork).

Jones, D.G., Kershaw, P.J., McMahon, C.A., Milodowski, A.E., Murray, M., Hunt, G.J, 2007

Changing patterns of radionuclide distribution in Irish Sea subtidal sediments. Journal of

Environmental Radioactivity Vol. 96, p. 63-74

Long, S., Hayden, E., Smith, V., Fegan, M., Dowdall, A., Pollard, D., Larmour, R., Ledgerwood, K.

and Peake, L., 1999. Artificial Radioactivity in Carlingford Lough, Ireland. Proceedings of an IAEA

Symposium Held in Monaco, 5–9 October 1998. IAEA–TECDOC–1094, IAEA, Vienna

Luisier, F., Corcher Alvarado,J.A., Steinmann, P., Krachler, M., Froidevaux, P., 2009. A new

method for the determination of plutonium and americium using high pressure microwave

digestion and alph-spectrometry or ICP-MS. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem., Vol. 281, p. 425-432.

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McAulay, I.R. and Moran, D., 1988. Natural radioactivity in soil in the republic of Ireland.

Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 24, p. 47-49.

McAulay, I.R. and Moran, D., 1989. Radiocaesium fallout in Ireland from the Chernobyl accident.

Journal of Radiological Protection, Vol. 9, (1), p. 29-32.

McGinnity, P., Currivan, L., Duffy, J., Hanley, O., Kelleher, McKittrick, L., Ó Colmáin, M., Organo,

C., Smith, K., Somerville, S., Wong, J. McMahon, C., 2012a. Assessment of the impact on Ireland

of the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Accident. RPII 12/01. Dublin: Radiological Protection Institute of

Ireland.

McGinnity, P., Currivan, L., Dowdall, A., Hanley, O., Kelleher, McKittrick, Ó Colmáin, M.,

Pollard, D., Somerville, S., Wong, J. McMahon, C., 2012b. Radioactivity monitoring of the Irish

environment 2010-2011. RPII 02/10. Dublin: Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.

Mitchell, P. I., Vives I Batlle, J., Ryan, T. P., McEnri, C., Long, S., O’Colmain, M.,Cunningham, J. D.,

Caulfield, J. J., Larmour, R. A. and Ledgerwood, F. K., 1992. Artificial Radioactivity in Carlingford

Lough. RPII, Dublin.

Mitchell, P.I., Hunt, J., Ledgerwood, K., Nielsen, S.P., O’Donnell, C., 2009. A Peer Review of the

RPII Environmental Monitoring Programme. Dublin: Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.

OSPAR, 2015. OSPAR Commission; Work areas; Radioactive substances. (Online)

2015. (Cited: 20 March 2015) http://www.ospar.org/content/content.asp?me

nu=00220306000000_000000_000000.

O’Connor, C. Currivan, L. Cunningham, N., Kelleher, K., Lewis, M., Long, S., McGinnity, P., Smith,

V., McMahon, C., 2014. Radiation doses received by the Irish population RPII 14/02. Dublin:

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.

Poole, A.J., Denoon, D.C. and Woodhead, D.S., 1997. The distribution and inventory of 137Cs in

sub-tidal sediments of the Irish Sea. Radioprotection-Colloques, 32 (C2), p. 263-270.

Pollard, D., Ryan, T.P. and Dowdall, A., 1998. The dose to Irish seafood consumers from Po-210.

Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 75 (1-4), p. 139-142.

Ryan, T.P., 1992. Nuclear fallout in the Irish terrestrial environment. Ph.D. Thesis, Dublin:

University College Dublin.

Ryan, T.P., Mitchell, P.I., Sanchez-Cabeza, J.A., Smith, V and Vives i Batlle, J., 1993. Distribution

of radioactive fallout throughout Ireland. In: Science, Green Issues and the Environment: Ireland

and the Global Crisis. (Eds. D.D.G. McMillan, C.O’Rourke, D.J. Fry and H.D. McMillan), p. 276-

283.

Ryan, T.P., Dowdall, A.M., Long, S., Smith, V., Pollard, D. Cunningham, J.D., 1999. Plutonium and

americium in fish, shellfish and seaweed in the Irish environment and their contribution to dose.

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 44 (2-3), p.349-369.

Smith, J.G., Simmonds, J.R., 2009. The methodology for assessing the radiological consequences

of routine releases of radionuclides to the environment used in PC-CREAM 08. HPA-RPD-058.

Didcot: Health Protection Agency.

Sequeira,S., Pollard, D., Smith, V., Howett, D., Hayden, E., Fegan, M., Dowdall, A., Brogan, C.,

O’Colmáin, M., Cunningham, J.D., 1999. Environmental radioactivity surveillance programme,

1997 and 1998. RPII-99/2 Dublin: Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Smith, K.J., 2001. Natural radionuclides as tracers of scavenging and particulate transport

processes in open ocean, coastal and estuarine environments. PhD Thesis, National University

of Ireland, Dublin.

Suomela, J., Wallberg, L. & Melin, J., 1993. Methods for determination of strontium-90 in food

and environmental samples by Cerenkov counting, Stockholm: Swedish Radiation Protection

Institute (SSI).

UKEA, 2015. Radioactive discharges from Sellafield to the Irish Sea. United Kingdom Environment

Agency, private communication.

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General Assembly, with Scientific Annexes, Annex A: Exposures from natural sources of

radiation. New York: United Nations.

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General Assembly, with Scientific Annexes, Annex B: Exposures of the public and workers from

various sources of radiation. New York: United Nations.

Walker, M.I. and Rose, K.S.B., 1990. The radioactivity of the sea. Nuclear Energy, 29 (4), p.

267-278.

WHO, 1993. Guidelines for drinking water quality, 2 nd edition. Geneva: WHO.

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

Appendix 1. Screening levels for drinking water

The Drinking Water Directive (European Communities, 1998b) on the quality of water intended

for human consumption sets out standards for radioactivity in drinking water, and includes

parametric standards for tritium and a radioactivity total indicative dose (TID), as set out in Table

A1. This Directive has been transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument No. 278 of 2007

(Ireland, 2007).

Table A1. Parametric values for radioactivity from Drinking Water

Parameter

Tritium

Total indicative dose a

Parametric value

100 Bq/l

100 μSv/year

Note: a Excluding tritium, potassium-40, radon and radon decay products. The assessment method will be set out in the Annexes

to the Directive.

The TID is the committed effective dose for one year of intake resulting from all the radionuclides

whose presence has been detected in a water supply; this includes radionuclides of both natural

and artificial origin, but excludes tritium, potassium-40, radon and radon decay products. A TID

of 0.1mSv/year represents less than 5 per cent of the average annual effective dose normally

attributable to natural background radiation.

Practical arrangements for monitoring compliance with these standards are to be set out in

Annexes to the Directive, which are currently being finalised by the European Commission. In

the absence of these Annexes, the EPA has applied the methodology for screening drinking

water as set out by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 1993 recommendations on drinking

water (WHO, 1993).

In accordance with the WHO scheme the recommended screening levels for gross alpha and

gross beta activity are 100 mBq/l (0.1 Bq/l) and 1000 mBq/l (1 Bq/l), respectively, while the

level for tritium is 100 Bq/l (the same as the Drinking Water Directive). Drinking water whose

activity levels are below these is considered acceptable for human consumption and any action

to reduce its radioactivity is deemed unnecessary.

The WHO gross alpha screening level of 100 mBq/l is based on the conservative assumption that

all of the alpha activity is due to Po-210, which has the highest ingestion dose coefficient of the

radionuclides considered by the WHO. In the case of Irish groundwater supplies, however, it has

been shown that where the gross alpha activity level exceeds 100 mBq/l, in most cases this is

dominated by uranium (Sequeira et al., 1999) which has a lower radio-toxicity.

As can be seen from Table A2, the ingestion dose coefficient for uranium is approximately 25

times lower than for Po-210. Therefore, where the gross alpha activity exceeds 100 mBq/l, the

approach taken by the EPA is firstly to estimate the uranium activity concentration from the

uranium concentration measured chemically. Where, on the basis of the indicative dose due to

uranium and the residual alpha activity with the uranium subtracted, it can be shown than no

combination of alpha emitters could result in a TID greater than 100 mBq/l, then the supply is

deemed to be in compliance with the standard for TID.

Where it can be shown that with the uranium excluded, no combination of alpha emitters

could result in gross alpha value greater than 100 mBq/l, then the supply is deemed to be in

compliance with the standard for TID.

Where it cannot be shown that the alpha value is below 100 mBq/l, having excluded the

contribution of uranium, then individual radionuclide concentrations must be determined

as necessary and the dose arising from each of them calculated. It should be noted that in

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Environmental Protection Agency | Radioactivity Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2012–2013

accordance with the Drinking Water Directive the dose calculation should include contributions

from all natural and artificial radionuclides with the exception of tritium, potassium-40, radon

and radon decay products. A consumption rate of two litres of water per person per day is

assumed.

It is important to emphasise that the above requirements apply to routine operational conditions

of existing or new water supplies. They are not intended to apply to a water supply contaminated

during an emergency involving the release of radionuclides into the environment. The ingestion

dose coefficients used to calculate indicative doses are set out below in Table A2.

Table A2. Radiological data used to calculate indicatives doses for drinking water

Radionuclide

Ingested dose coefficient for

Adults (Sv/Bq) 1

Activity per radionuclide

(mBq/l) equivalent to 0.1 mSv

Polonium-210 1.2 x 10 -6 117

Radium-226 2.80 x 10 -7 500

Thorium-232 2.3 x 10 -7 600

Uranium-234 4.9 x 10 -8 3000

Uranium-235 4.7 x 10 -8

Uranium-238 4.5 x 10 -8

Note: 1 Source: ICRP (1996).

55


Environmental Protection Agency | 

58


AN GHNÍOMHAIREACHT UM CHAOMHNÚ

COMHSHAOIL

Tá an Ghníomhaireacht um Chaomhnú Comhshaoil (GCC) freagrach

as an gcomhshaol a chaomhnú agus a fheabhsú mar shócmhainn

luachmhar do mhuintir na hÉireann. Táimid tiomanta do dhaoine

agus don chomhshaol a chosaint ó éifeachtaí díobhálacha na

radaíochta agus an truaillithe.

Is féidir obair na Gníomhaireachta a

roinnt ina trí phríomhréimse:

Rialú: Déanaimid córais éifeachtacha rialaithe agus comhlíonta

comhshaoil a chur i bhfeidhm chun torthaí maithe comhshaoil a

sholáthar agus chun díriú orthu siúd nach gcloíonn leis na córais

sin.

Eolas: Soláthraímid sonraí, faisnéis agus measúnú comhshaoil atá

ar ardchaighdeán, spriocdhírithe agus tráthúil chun bonn eolais a

chur faoin gcinnteoireacht ar gach leibhéal.

Tacaíocht: Bímid ag saothrú i gcomhar le grúpaí eile chun tacú

le comhshaol atá glan, táirgiúil agus cosanta go maith, agus le

hiompar a chuirfidh le comhshaol inbhuanaithe.

Ár bhFreagrachtaí

Ceadúnú

• Déanaimid na gníomhaíochtaí seo a leanas a rialú ionas

nach ndéanann siad dochar do shláinte an phobail ná don

chomhshaol:

• saoráidí dramhaíola (m.sh. láithreáin líonta talún, loisceoirí,

stáisiúin aistrithe dramhaíola);

• gníomhaíochtaí tionsclaíocha ar scála mór (m.sh. déantúsaíocht

cógaisíochta, déantúsaíocht stroighne, stáisiúin chumhachta);

• an diantalmhaíocht (m.sh. muca, éanlaith);

• úsáid shrianta agus scaoileadh rialaithe Orgánach

Géinmhodhnaithe (OGM);

• foinsí radaíochta ianúcháin (m.sh. trealamh x-gha agus

radaiteiripe, foinsí tionsclaíocha);

• áiseanna móra stórála peitril;

• scardadh dramhuisce;

• gníomhaíochtaí dumpála ar farraige.

Forfheidhmiú Náisiúnta i leith Cúrsaí Comhshaoil

• Clár náisiúnta iniúchtaí agus cigireachtaí a dhéanamh gach

bliain ar shaoráidí a bhfuil ceadúnas ón nGníomhaireacht acu.

• Maoirseacht a dhéanamh ar fhreagrachtaí cosanta comhshaoil na

n-údarás áitiúil.

• Caighdeán an uisce óil, arna sholáthar ag soláthraithe uisce

phoiblí, a mhaoirsiú.

• Obair le húdaráis áitiúla agus le gníomhaireachtaí eile chun dul

i ngleic le coireanna comhshaoil trí chomhordú a dhéanamh ar

líonra forfheidhmiúcháin náisiúnta, trí dhíriú ar chiontóirí, agus

trí mhaoirsiú a dhéanamh ar leasúchán.

• Cur i bhfeidhm rialachán ar nós na Rialachán um

Dhramhthrealamh Leictreach agus Leictreonach (DTLL), um

Shrian ar Shubstaintí Guaiseacha agus na Rialachán um rialú ar

shubstaintí a ídíonn an ciseal ózóin.

• An dlí a chur orthu siúd a bhriseann dlí an chomhshaoil agus a

dhéanann dochar don chomhshaol.

Bainistíocht Uisce

• Monatóireacht agus tuairisciú a dhéanamh ar cháilíocht

aibhneacha, lochanna, uiscí idirchriosacha agus cósta na

hÉireann, agus screamhuiscí; leibhéil uisce agus sruthanna

aibhneacha a thomhas.

• Comhordú náisiúnta agus maoirsiú a dhéanamh ar an

gCreat-Treoir Uisce.

• Monatóireacht agus tuairisciú a dhéanamh ar Cháilíocht an Uisce

Snámha.

Monatóireacht, Anailís agus Tuairisciú ar an

gComhshaol

• Monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar cháilíocht an aeir agus Treoir an

AE maidir le hAer Glan don Eoraip (CAFÉ) a chur chun feidhme.

• Tuairisciú neamhspleách le cabhrú le cinnteoireacht an rialtais

náisiúnta agus na n-údarás áitiúil (m.sh. tuairisciú tréimhsiúil ar

staid Chomhshaol na hÉireann agus Tuarascálacha ar Tháscairí).

Rialú Astaíochtaí na nGás Ceaptha Teasa in Éirinn

• Fardail agus réamh-mheastacháin na hÉireann maidir le gáis

cheaptha teasa a ullmhú.

• An Treoir maidir le Trádáil Astaíochtaí a chur chun feidhme i

gcomhair breis agus 100 de na táirgeoirí dé-ocsaíde carbóin is

mó in Éirinn

Taighde agus Forbairt Comhshaoil

• Taighde comhshaoil a chistiú chun brúnna a shainaithint, bonn

eolais a chur faoi bheartais, agus réitigh a sholáthar i réimsí na

haeráide, an uisce agus na hinbhuanaitheachta.

Measúnacht Straitéiseach Timpeallachta

• Measúnacht a dhéanamh ar thionchar pleananna agus clár

beartaithe ar an gcomhshaol in Éirinn (m.sh. mórphleananna

forbartha).

Cosaint Raideolaíoch

• Monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar leibhéil radaíochta, measúnacht

a dhéanamh ar nochtadh mhuintir na hÉireann don radaíocht

ianúcháin.

• Cabhrú le pleananna náisiúnta a fhorbairt le haghaidh

éigeandálaí ag eascairt as taismí núicléacha.

• Monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar fhorbairtí thar lear a bhaineann le

saoráidí núicléacha agus leis an tsábháilteacht raideolaíochta.

• Sainseirbhísí cosanta ar an radaíocht a sholáthar, nó maoirsiú a

dhéanamh ar sholáthar na seirbhísí sin.

Treoir, Faisnéis Inrochtana agus Oideachas

• Comhairle agus treoir a chur ar fáil d’earnáil na tionsclaíochta

agus don phobal maidir le hábhair a bhaineann le caomhnú an

chomhshaoil agus leis an gcosaint raideolaíoch.

• Faisnéis thráthúil ar an gcomhshaol ar a bhfuil fáil éasca a

chur ar fáil chun rannpháirtíocht an phobail a spreagadh sa

chinnteoireacht i ndáil leis an gcomhshaol (m.sh. Timpeall an Tí,

léarscáileanna radóin).

• Comhairle a chur ar fáil don Rialtas maidir le hábhair a

bhaineann leis an tsábháilteacht raideolaíoch agus le cúrsaí

práinnfhreagartha.

• Plean Náisiúnta Bainistíochta Dramhaíola Guaisí a fhorbairt

chun dramhaíl ghuaiseach a chosc agus a bhainistiú.

Múscailt Feasachta agus Athrú Iompraíochta

• Feasacht chomhshaoil níos fearr a ghiniúint agus dul i bhfeidhm

ar athrú iompraíochta dearfach trí thacú le gnóthais, le pobail

agus le teaghlaigh a bheith níos éifeachtúla ar acmhainní.

• Tástáil le haghaidh radóin a chur chun cinn i dtithe agus in

ionaid oibre, agus gníomhartha leasúcháin a spreagadh nuair is

gá.

Bainistíocht agus struchtúr na Gníomhaireachta um

Chaomhnú Comhshaoil

Tá an ghníomhaíocht á bainistiú ag Bord lánaimseartha, ar a

bhfuil Ard-Stiúrthóir agus cúigear Stiúrthóirí. Déantar an obair ar

fud cúig cinn d’Oifigí:

• An Oifig Aeráide, Ceadúnaithe agus Úsáide Acmhainní

• An Oifig Forfheidhmithe i leith cúrsaí Comhshaoil

• An Oifig um Measúnú Comhshaoil

• An Oifig um Cosaint Raideolaíoch

• An Oifig Cumarsáide agus Seirbhísí Corparáideacha

Tá Coiste Comhairleach ag an nGníomhaireacht le cabhrú léi. Tá

dáréag comhaltaí air agus tagann siad le chéile go rialta le plé a

dhéanamh ar ábhair imní agus le comhairle a chur ar an mBord.


Headquarters and South East Region

Environmental Protection Agency

PO Box 3000, Johnstown Castle Estate

County Wexford, Y35 W821, Ireland

Bosca Poist 3000, Eastát Chaisleán Bhaile

Sheáin Contae Loch Garman, Y35 W821, Éire

T: +353 53 916 0600

F: +353 53 916 0699

South/South West Region

Inniscarra, County Cork, P31 VX59, Ireland

Inis Cara, Contae Chorcaí, P31 VX59, Éire

T: +353 21 487 5540

F: +353 21 487 5545

Midlands Region

Seville Lodge, Callan Road, Kilkenny, P31

VX59, Ireland

Lóiste Sevilla, Bóthar Challain,

Cill Chainnigh, P31 VX59 Éire

T +353 56 779 6700

F +353 56 779 6798

East/North East Region

McCumiskey House, Richview

Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14, D14 YR62,

Ireland

Teach Mhic Chumascaigh

Dea-Radharc, Bóthar Cluain Sceach

Baile Átha Cliath 14, D14 YR62, Éire

T: +353 1 268 0100

F: +353 1 268 0199

West/North West Region

John Moore Road

Castlebar, County Mayo, F23 KT91, Ireland

Bóthar Sheán de Mórdha

Caisleán an Bharraigh, Contae Mhaigh Eo,

F23 KT91, Éire

T: +353 94 904 8400

F: +353 94 904 8499

E: info@epa.ie

W: www.epa.ie

LoCall: 1890 33 55 99

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