Summary of Radioactivity in Food and the Environment 2004-2008

The Summary of Radioactivity in Food and the Environment 2004 to 2008 uses data published in the RIFE reports during the five years in question to produce trends associated with radiation exposure (doses) to people living around nuclear sites, disposals of radioactive waste (discharges) to air and water, and radionuclide activity (concentrations) in samples collected around nuclear sites.

In-depth background to the methodologies can be found in the relevant annual RIFE reports.

The report was produced in collaboration by the FSA and the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Northern Ireland Environment Agency and helps to demonstrate UK progress against the Oslo and Paris convention targets (OSPAR). The OSPAR convention is the current legal instrument guiding international co-operation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic Ocean.

Key findings

The report shows that for all 39 nuclear licensed sites, the overall amount of radiation the public was exposed to was less than the UK and European limit of 1mSv per year, in each year over the five-year review period.

A key observation is that radionuclide concentrations were very low at many sites, indeed so low they could not be detected by the methods used.

Concentrations of radionuclides in food and the environment over the past two decades have shown large and sustained reductions in the majority of cases.