RPII report on the impact of Fukushima on Ireland

Thursday 8th March 2012: A report on the impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan on Ireland published today by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) concludes that radiation levels detected were miniscule and had no public health consequences.

Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of the RPII, said today: “The radiation doses in Ireland from the Fukushima accident were extremely low and of no health consequence.  However the accident underlines the fact that there is no room for complacency within the international nuclear industry and a nuclear accident anywhere has potential to be a nuclear accident everywhere.”

The total estimated radiation dose to an adult in Ireland from the additional radioactivity resulting from the Fukushima accident was 0.26 microsievert. By comparison, the typical annual average dose in Ireland from all sources of radioactivity including naturally occurring radiation and medical exposures is 3950 microsievert.  The doses in Ireland from exposure to radioactivity from Fukushima were therefore of no significance from a public health or food safety point of view.

The RPII is an independent regulatory authority whose role is to ensure that people in Ireland are protected from the harmful effects of radiation. The RPII has no role in the promotion or otherwise of nuclear power.

The RPII has a responsibility to monitor developments abroad in relation to nuclear installations and radiological safety and to advise Government on their implications for Ireland. As part of this role, the RPII represents Ireland on European and international forums on issues relating to nuclear safety in order to ensure that Ireland’s views and concerns are taken into account.

According to Dr McGarry: “The Fukushima accident underlined the necessity for nuclear safety authorities worldwide to re-evaluate the safety of operating nuclear power plants and to assess the relevant safety margins against the type of extreme events which occurred at Fukushima.”

In the EU, the findings from these so called ‘Stress Tests’ are being reviewed by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG), of which the RPII is a member, with a final report going to the European Council in June 2012. Of particular interest to Ireland is the promotion of openness and transparency in the areas of nuclear safety and radioactive waste and spent fuel management, and the RPII is very active in pushing this agenda. To this end, ENSREG will organise a public meeting, planned for the summer, to discuss the outcomes of the stress tests.

For further information:

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland
David Dawson            01 206 69 13
Marie Kelly                 01 269 77 66

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