Radioactivity in the environment

Radioactivity in the environment

Requirements for monitoring

The environmental radioactivity monitoring data from EU countries must be communicated to the European Commission so that it can carry out evaluations and compare radiation exposure of the population in different countries.

On the basis of this data and in cooperation with its Joint Research Centre (JRC-ITU), the Commission publishes reports on environmental radioactivity in the EU.

Additionally, the Radioactivity Environmental Monitoring (REM) project facilitates the online exchange of information on radioactivity among EU countries and the Commission (through the EURDEP system).

In 2000 the European Commission issued Recommendation 2000/473/Euratom, providing guidance to EU countries on monitoring the levels of radioactivity in the environment for the purpose of assessing the exposure of the population as a whole.

The European Commission has the right to verify Member States' arrangements for monitoring radioactivity in the environment and radioactive discharges from nuclear facilities or other facilities using radioactive materials. The Commission selects the target of the verification and makes its subsequent findings, as well as its recommendations, publicly available.

Verifications of radiation monitoring in EU countries

Releases of radioactive effluents

Nuclear sites, in particular nuclear power stations and reprocessing sites, are entitled to discharge airborne and liquid radioactive effluents into the environment on condition that these discharge operations abide by conditions and restrictions set in their operating licenses.

The radioactivity of discharges is measured and the results must be communicated to the European Commission. This helps the Commission to evaluate the exposure of populations and compare the levels of radioactivity in different EU countries.

The European Commission has issued a Recommendation 2004/2/Euratom , which gives guidance to EU countries on the reporting of discharges of radioactive nuclides.

The Commission's Radioactive Discharges Database (RADD) compiles the information provided by EU countries. In order to provide a useful time span, the database also contains historical information that was supplied prior to 2004 (from 1995 onwards).

Publications on the release of radioactive effluents