The Irish Sea, like any other marine environment, is subject to natural and artificial radioactivity. The biggest source of artificial radiation currently is coming from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in the north west of England. Formerly called Windscale, the plant reprocesses spent fuel from nuclear power reactors and is also involved in storage of nuclear waste. Two nuclear reactors at the site (the Calder Hall reactors) were closed down in March 2003.
A pipeline, about 3 km from land, takes liquid radioactive waste from the plant to the Irish Sea. Gases are released from the plant via a number of chimneys. The United Kingdom Environment Agency is in charge of regulating the discharges from Sellafield. On this side of the Irish Sea, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) conducts a monitoring programme of radioactivity. The results of this monitoring are published on the EPA website.
Results year to year vary, with the level of radiation emitted from the plant into the Irish Sea remaining very small. In fact, the amount found in sea life and plants, which can then be transferred to humans, is less than 1 per cent of the total radiation dose received by a member of the Irish public from all sources of radiation.
The real risk to Ireland posed by the Sellafield facility is the potential radiation dose caused by a serious explosion or terrorist attack on the complex.
Upload to this page
Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.
- Ireland's Environment Overview
- Environmental Governance
- Air Quality
- Air Quality Standards
- Air Pollution Act 1987
- Which Pollutants Are Dangerous?
- Where Do They Come From?
- How Can We Reduce Them?
- Is Climate Change The Same As Air Pollution?
- What Is The Issue With The Hole In The Ozone Layer?
- Banning Smoky Coal and Its Effect On Air Quality
- Traffic and Quality Bus Corridors
- Backyard Burning and Dioxins
- Public Consultations
- The Built Environment
- Waste Management
- Aarhus Convention
- Climate Change
- Health and Wellbeing
- Featured Articles
- County Focus
- Environmental Awareness Initiatives
- Education, Training & Exhibitions
- Public Consultations & Review Procedure
- Environmental Impact Statements
- Who Does What?
- Environmental Assessment
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
- Local Authority Environmental Enforcement
- Mineral Extraction