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Liquid discharges from nuclear installations in 2012

Executive Summary

Data are available on ODIMS via:

Discharges of radioactive substances measured as total alpha and total beta activity and excluding tritium from nuclear installations have decreased over the period 1990 – 2012. The discharges of tritium peaked in 2004

This annual report includes the data of 2012 on liquid radioactive discharges from nuclear installations and temporal trends for the period 1990 - 2012. On this basis, an assessment has been made for the discharges from nuclear power stations, nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, nuclear fuel fabrication and enrichment plants, research and development facilities, and decommissioning and management of legacy radioactive wastes activities. Discharges are reported as total alpha, tritium and total beta activity (excluding tritium) in terabecquerel per year (TBq/y) for each type of nuclear installation.

Full Report

There is a decrease in the total alpha activity discharged from all nuclear installations over the 21-year period. Discharges are at its lowest reported level since 1990, accounting for less than 6% of the peak value in 1993. In 2012, there was a 17% increase compared to 2011 in alpha discharges from the fuel reprocessing subsector at Sellafield. Discharges at La Hague plant were at their lowest since 2009. Total alpha discharges arising from decommissioning are insignificant.

Downward trends for discharges of tritium since 2004 were re-established. The total discharges of tritium were the highest since 2006. However, such trends were related to reprocessing throughput and could rise or fall in the future. La Hague contributed 73% of the total tritium discharges and Sellafield saw a decrease of 48% compared to the previous year. Discharges of tritium from nuclear power stations contributed around 20% of the total tritium discharge. Tritium discharges arising from decommissioning are a very minor contributor although quite variable.

Total beta discharges (excluding tritium) from all nuclear installations are dominated by discharges from the reprocessing plant which contributed approximately 61% of the overall discharges. Discharges of Tc-99 discharges from Sellafield went down by 42% in 2012 compared with 2011 figures. Total beta discharges from the fuel fabrication sub-sector at Springfields dropped by 9% in 2012. Total beta discharges (excluding tritium) arising from decommissioning were insignificant. 

Location of Nuclear Facilities in OSPAR countries discharging directly or indirectly to the OSPAR maritime area in 2012. Available via