Skip to main content

Radioactive Waste: Waste Management

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much liquid radioactive waste has been discharged into the sea loch at Faslane in each year since it first hosted Polaris nuclear submarines; and whether he has received recent representations from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency on the matter. (272723)

Officials are currently in the process of collating the information held by the Department; I will write to the hon. Member once this work is complete.

Substantive answer from Quentin Davies to Dai Davies:

In my answer of 12 May 2009 to your Question (Official Report: Column 753W), I undertook to write to you regarding how much liquid radioactive waste has been discharged into the sea loch at Faslane in each year since it first hosted Polaris.

Resolution Class submarines, which carried Polaris, operated out of Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde at Faslane from 1967. Information regarding liquid discharges for the period 1967-76 is not held. The information relating to liquid radioactive waste discharged into the sea loch at Faslane since 1977 is provided at Annex A.

It may be helpful if I put this information into context. Between 1967-93 the discharge level set by Her Majesty's Industrial Pollution Inspectorate was a total radioactivity limit of 37 Gigabecquerels (GBq), excluding tritium. Since 1994 the agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has included tritium and has required the information to be broken out into the different nuclide groups. The liquid radioactive discharge limits since 1994 are as follows:

Alpha Activity: 0.200 GBq

Beta Activity: 0.500 GBq

Cobalt-60: 0.500 GBq

Tritium: 1000.000 GBq

As you can see from the figures, the total liquid radioactive discharges into the sea at Faslane have not exceeded the limits set by the regulatory authorities, and in all cases are significantly below the limits; I can confirm that SEPA have not made any recent representations on the matter.

I hope this information is useful.

Annex A

Table 1: Liquid radioactive waste discharged during 1977-1993 under agreement with Her Majesty's Industrial Pollution Inspectorate

Year

Radioactivity

Discharges in GBq

1993

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.055

1992

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.037

1991

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.110

1990

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.084

1989

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.032

1988

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.030

1987

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.046

1986

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.085

1985

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.046

1984

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.240

1983

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.110

1982

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.055

1981

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.040

1980

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.211

1979

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.012

1978

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.016

1977

Total Activity (excluding tritium)

0.100

Table 2: Liquid radioactive waste discharged during 1994-2008 under agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Year

Radioactivity

Discharges in GBq

2008

Alpha

0.000

2008

Beta Activity

0.019

2008

Colbalt-60

0.005

2008

Tritium

72.830

2007

Alpha

0.000

2007

Beta Activity

0.013

2007

Colbalt-60

0.003

2007

Tritium

66.400

2006

Alpha

0.001

2006

Beta Activity

0.006

2006

Colbalt-60

0.003

2006

Tritium

121.000

2005

Alpha

0.002

2005

Beta Activity

0.013

2005

Colbalt-60

0.003

2005

Tritium

115.000

2004

Alpha

0.002

2004

Beta Activity

0.005

2004

Colbalt-60

0.007

2004

Tritium

47.900

2003

Alpha

0.015

2003

Beta Activity

0.003

2003

Colbalt-60

0.008

2003

Tritium

93.700

2002

Alpha

0.002

2002

Beta Activity

0.035

2002

Colbalt-60

0.009

2002

Tritium

78.156

2001

Alpha

0.002

2001

Beta Activity

0.001

2001

Colbalt-60

0.030

2001

Tritium

39.710

2000

Alpha

0.002

2000

Beta Activity

0.008

2000

Colbalt-60

0.010

2000

Tritium

64.000

1999

Alpha

0.002

1999

Beta Activity

0.010

1999

Colbalt-60

0.004

1999

Tritium

69.400

1998

Alpha

0.008

1998

Beta Activity

0.020

1998

Colbalt-60

0.022

1998

Tritium

42.500

1997

Alpha

0.017

1997

Beta Activity

0.008

1997

Colbalt-60

0.055

1997

Tritium

72.800

1996

Alpha

0.018

1996

Beta Activity

0.178

1996

Colbalt-60

0.087

1996

Tritium

198.000

1995

Alpha

0.014

1995

Beta Activity

0.311

1995

Colbalt-60

0.203

1995

Tritium

93.900

1994

Alpha

0.019

1994

Beta Activity

0.115

1994

Colbalt-60

0.064

1994

Tritium

113.000

Note:

Figures have been rounded to three decimal places.