Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) report 2017
The annual Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) report 2017 shows that the level of man-made radioactivity to which people in the UK are exposed remained below the EU legal limit.
This report covers sampling and analysis carried out in 2017 as part of the radiological monitoring programme. The main purpose of the programme is to make sure that discharges from the UK nuclear sites do not cause unacceptable exposure to radioactivity through our food.
The key findings of the RIFE report 2017 are:
- the total radiation dose to members of the public in the UK is significantly below the EU annual dose limit of 1 millisievert for all exposures
- the exposure of consumers to radioactivity in 2017 was similar than in 2016 for the majority of nuclear sites
Where the results come from
The report combines our monitoring results with those of the Environment Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It brings together our data on food from habits surveys and data on environmental sources of radioactivity to provide a comprehensive picture for people who live close to nuclear sites and eat locally produced food.
Habits surveys are conducted to establish the habits of people living and working near nuclear sites in the United Kingdom. This includes the food they eat and the activities they carry out in the area around nuclear sites. The information from the surveys and data on the levels of radioactivity found in food and the environment are used to calculate the level of radiation they are exposed to.
In 2017, habit surveys were carried out at Devonport, Hinkley Point and Sellafield in England. The results were used to improve the assessment of doses to the members of the public near nuclear licensed sites.
Radioactivity has been around since the Earth formed. It exists naturally in the atmosphere, soil, seas and rivers. It is also created by human activity during energy production and military operations.
Very small amounts of radioactivity get into our food and drink. The vast majority of radioactivity found in food results from natural rather than man-made sources.
Radioactivity in Food and the Environment 2017 (RIFE) reports
Published: 25 October 2018
Last updated: 12 January 2023