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Radioactive Discharges (Marine Life)

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research has been done since April, 1956, on the concentration of potentially radioactive materials in oysters and other marine life; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry's Radiobiological Laboratory at Lowestoft has carried out laboratory and field research into the uptake of radioactivity by marine life, not only since 1956 but for the past 12 years, with a view to providing basic data for controlled discharges of radioactivity under safe conditions from Atomic Energy Authority and civil nuclear power stations situated on the coast. These studies have been made on all important forms of marine life occurring at the particular sites and particularly on those entering into the human food chain. Uptake by oysters has been intensively studied since 1959 in connection with future discharges from the Bradwell site and, on the basis of this and previous research the Ministry's scientists have proposed levels of discharge which they are satisfied will be completely safe from the point of view of consumption of oysters by the human population.