Annual report on discharges of radioactive substances from the non-nuclear sector in 2012

Data are available on ODIMS via:  https://odims.ospar.org/documents/157

Executive Summary

Annual data collection by OSPAR on discharges from the non-nuclear sector has only been taking place since 2006 (collecting data from 2005). Due to the incompleteness of datasets, no data have been published until 2009. This is the sixth annual report and assessment of discharges from the non-nuclear sector published by OSPAR.

The 2012 data reported by Contracting Parties were sufficient to make an assessment of discharges from the offshore oil and gas sub-sector, which is the major non-nuclear source. It is also possible to judge the relative contribution from the medical sub-sector. Only sparse data are available for the other non-nuclear sub-sectors (universities and research, radiochemical manufacturing and various others), but they are considered to be of minor importance.

Full Report

The radionuclides reported from the offshore oil and gas industry are: Ra-226, Ra-228, Pb-210, discharged via produced water. The data are converted into total alpha and total beta (excluding tritium) activity in order to be able to compare the magnitude with discharges from other sectors.

In 2013, it has been agreed that a baseline could be established for Ra-226 and Ra-228 based on reported discharge data from 2005 – 2011 although a baseline for Pb-210 had not been considered, as datasets available needed further examination.

The offshore oil and gas sub-sector is the principal source of total alpha discharges, accounting for 97,9% of the total. This sub-sector also makes an 12,6 % contribution to the overall total beta from all sectors (nuclear and non-nuclear). In total, the non-nuclear sector contributed an estimated 55 % of the total beta discharges from all sectors, with the largest single contribution (41.6 %) coming from the iodine-131 discharges from the medical sub-sector. Tritium discharges from the non-nuclear sector are insignificant in comparison with those from the nuclear sector.