Radioactivity in Food and the Environment Report 2018

29 October 2019

Article: 53/4306

The latest Radioactivity in Food and the Environment Report (RIFE 24) was published on 24 October 2019, and shows that doses of radioactivity received by people in Scotland remain within international limits.

The annual RIFE 24 report is a joint publication between all six agencies across the UK with responsibility for ensuring that doses from authorised releases of radioactivity do not pose an unacceptable risk to health, these being the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Environment Agency (EA), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The report looks at the levels and concentrations of radioactivity measured in the environment during 2018 and discharges from all of the nuclear licensed sites in Scotland. It assesses the dose a member of the public could receive, based on a number of factors such as environmental concentrations, diet and activity.  The highest dose for a member of the public reported in Scotland from an authorised discharge was 0.035 millisievert (mSv), around one thirtieth of the legal limit. As a comparison, the UK average exposure from all sources, including background radiation, is 2.7 mSv, of which 0.40 mSv is from patient exposure to radiation from medical treatments.

In Scotland, SEPA is responsible for the radiological monitoring that is carried out and has a duty to ensure that no member of the public receives a dose in excess of the statutory dose limit of one millisievert (1 mSv) per year from authorised discharges. This year’s data shows that doses were within the legal limits and that SEPA’s regulatory processes in relation to radioactive substances are sufficiently robust.

A summary of Radioactivity in Food and the Environment, analysing the public’s exposure to radiation between 2004 and 2016, has also been published.

Source: SEPA, 24 October 2019