Energy

Radioactivity in the environment

Radioactivity in the environment

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 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 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; it selects the verification target and makes its subsequent findings and recommendations publicly available.

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

Member States experts’ meetings (Euratom Article 35 – 36)

The Commission organises regular meetings of Member States’ experts on monitoring radioactivity in the environment and in gaseous and liquid discharges.

Meeting of 18-19 September 2018

Related documents

Related links

Related legislation

  • Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2000 on the application of Article 36 of the Euratom Treaty concerning the monitoring of the levels of radioactivity in the environment for the purpose of assessing the exposure of the population as a whole (notified under document number C(2000)1299)  (2000/473/Euratom)
  • Commission Recommendation of 18 December 2003 on standardised information on radioactive airborne and liquid discharges into the environment from nuclear power reactors and reprocessing plants in normal operation (notified under document number C(2003) 4832) (Recommendation 2004/2/Euratom )