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Radioactive Waste

Volume 24: debated on Monday 17 May 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Londonderry on 26 April, Official Report, c. 197, what studies have been made into the proportion of plutonium and americium which will be dispersed in sea water, how much will remain in the sediments and what effect the amounts remaining will have on living creatures in the affected areas.

Work on the dispersal of plutonium and americium forms an important part of my Department's research programme on the effects of radioactivity in the marine environment. This work includes regular surveys of the distribution of these radionuclides in sea water and sediments and studies of the factors which affect this distribution.This research indicates that a high proportion of the plutonium and americium discharged from Sellafield remains immobilised below the surface layer of sediments. Field and laboratory studies have not shown any major effects on marine organisms from these discharges.