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Radiation

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the doses in sieverts as a direct result of the Chernobyl disaster received by (a) the critical population in Scotland, (b) children under the age of 12 years and (c) pregnant women.

Preliminary estimates of the radiation doses received by the population of the United Kingdom from the Chernobyl accident have been published by the National Radiological Protection Board. The Board's assessment, which took into account monitoring information obtained over Scotland, considered doses received by adults and one year old children representative of individual members of the population. To allow for the variation from one area to another in the amount of activity deposited, separate assessments were made for southern and northern areas. Those for northern areas are appropriate to Scotland.The Board's results show that the representative doses due to the Chernobyl incident to people in northern areas, in the year May 1986 to April 1987, are 0·9 millisieverts

* for a 1 year old child and 0·3 millisieverts* for an adult. Doses to children aged between one and 12 years will be less than those to one year olds because the significance of ingestion of radio-activity in milk decreases with age. Doses to adults are representative of those received by pregnant women.

* 1 millisievert = 10-3 sieverts.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the annual wholebody dose implied by the figure cited in the answer of 21 May, Official Report, column 227, for the committed dose for the thyroids of Glasgow children; and what are the consequential implications for the excess cancer deaths total among children presently aged under 15 years.

The annual wholebody dose implied by the figures contained in the answer of 21 May, Official Report, column 227, was 90 microsieverts. All the measurements taken were below this level. Indeed 80 per cent. of the children examined were found to have activity levels below the detection threshold of the apparatus used.The most probable outcome is that no additional cancer deaths amongst children presently aged under 15 years will have been incurred.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, using figures for the levels of radioactivity to which the Scottish population were exposed as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, he will estimate the number of excess fatal cancers expressed per 10,000 population, expected to occur over the next 35 years amongst the Scottish population so exposed; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on 23 May at column 227.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if there are any plans to establish further sites for monitoring radioactivity in Scotland operated by the National Radiological Protection Board.

The National Radiological Protection Board is presently reviewing their monitoring arrangements in the light of the Chernobyl incident.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the fate of the cargoes of those vessels from Europe and the eastern bloc arriving at the British ports listed in the answer of 22 May, Official Report, column 306; what monitoring of radioactivity from these cargoes has been undertaken; and with what results.

Cargoes arriving at Scottish ports have been the subject of guidance from the Scottish Home and Health Department to environmental health officers. This specified initially that certain food items exported from the USSR and Poland on or after 26 April 1986 should be held for testing. From 13 to 31 May all foodstuffs from the Eastern bloc (excluding East Germany) were to be refused entry, in accordance with EC Regulation No. 1388/86. From 31 May until 30 September food from countries outside the European Community is to be allowed entry subject to a certificate procedure which is being applied to specified food items from all the Eastern bloc countries (including East Germany and Yugoslavia), Austria and Sweden, in accordance with EC Regulation. No. 1707/86.The fate of particular cargoes is not routinely recorded. The food cargoes amongst those listed in the reply of my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury on 22 May were of products harvested before 26 April and fish, which would carry no risk to public health. Environmental health officers have indicated that only one cargo (cement received in Caithness) was tested for radioactivity with a negative result.