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Sellafield

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the quantified radioactive discharges, by terabecquerels, from Sellafield to (a) air and (b) water in each year from 1980 to date; and what the projected discharges are in each year to 2020. [117422]

[holding answer 9 June 2003]: Liquid and aerial discharge data for the years 1980 to 2002 inclusive, is provided in the following tables. For liquid discharges, the total alpha plus total beta (excluding tritium) measurements in table 1 provide a simple indication of past and future discharges that is representative of the overall discharge. Tritium in liquid discharges, which has very low radiological toxicity, despite being high in quantitive terms, is shown separately in table 2.For aerial discharges in table 3, the total alpha plus total beta measurements relate to particulate activity discharged to the atmosphere from the Sellafield site. In addition to the particulate activity there are low active radioactive gases and vapours discharged from the site which require specific sampling equipment dependent upon the gas to be measured. These measurements are separate from and in addition to the total alpha and total beta measurements and are provided in table 4 to give a more complete picture of past aerial discharges. Included in the gaseous measurements are the noble gases such as Krypton 85 and Argon 41 which are inert and consequently do not react with the environment through the normal pathways of rainwater or ground deposition. Their impact on man is through external exposure and as such their impact in terms of dose is relatively low, although in quantitive terms the discharges appear to be large.The projected results of liquid discharges in tables 5 and 6 are reproduced from the UK's Strategy for Radioactive Discharges, 2001–20, published in July 2002 and are shown as averaged 5-year predictions. Aerial projections are not currently available. These will be developed in the context of the first revision of the UK's Radioactive Discharges Strategy which is due to be published in 2005.

Table 1: Sellafield liquid alpha plus beta radioactive discharges, excluding Tritium 1980–2002 (TBq)
19804,345
19813,861
19823,556
19832,504
19841,204
1985593
19861123
198791
198883
1989104
199073
199164
199259
1993100
1994127
1995188
1996143
1997138
1998286
1999110
2000277
2001123
2002113

1 Discharge authorisation revised in 1986

2 Reduced discharges in 1998 and 2000 were due to their being no treatment of Salt Evaporator Concentrate (SEC) arising from Magnox re-processing.

Table 2: Sellafield liquid tritium radioactive discharges 1980–2002 (TBq)

19801,300
19812,000
19821,800
19831,800
19841,600
19851,100
198612,200
19871,400
19881,700
19892,100
19901,700
19911,800
19921,200
19932,300
19941,700
19952,660
19963,000
19972,600
19982,300
19992,500
20002,260
20012,560
20023,320

1 Discharge authorisation revised in 1986

Table 3: Sellafield aerial alpha plus beta radioactive discharges excluding vapours and gases 1980–2002 (TBq)

19800.50
19810.25
19820.102
19830.08
19840.06
19850.05
19860.03
19870.02
19880.01
19890.01
19900.01
19910.01
19920.01
19930.01
19940.005
19950.004
19960.003
19970.002
19980.002
19990.002
20000.001
20010.001
20020.0001

Table 4: Sellafield vapours and gases 1 discharged 1980–2002 (TBq)

198032,354
198153,770
198245,685
198343,411
198438,808
198526,875
198656,066
198736,501
198842,332
198954,914
199040,700
199147,727
199230,290

Table 4: Sellafield vapours and gases 1 discharged 1980–2002 (TBq)

199360,570
199441,556
1995100,289
199697,130
199797,764
1998101,758
1999102,857
200076,720
2001105,140
2002101,579

1 Tritium, Carbon-14, Sulphur 35, Iodine 129 and 131, Argon 41, Krypton 85.

Table 5: Projected alpha/beta radioactive liquid discharges from Sellafield excluding tritium 2003–2020 (TBq)

2003165
2004165
2005165
2006104
2007104
2008104
2009104
2010104
201175
201275
201375
201475
201575
201654
201754
201854
201954
202054

Table 6: Projected liquid tritium radioactive discharges 2003–2020 (TBq)

20039,280
20049,280
20059,280
20068,930
20078,930
20088,930
20098,930
20108,930
20119,110
20129,110
20139,110
20149,110
20159,110
20169,520
20179,520
20189,520
20199,520
20209,520

Note:

The projections in tables 5 and 6 are annualised average figures for the five-year periods 2001–05, 2006–10, 2011–15 and 2016–20. They do not represent targets or limits for sp.