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Radiation at Very Low Levels 20 August 2003

The Department of Local Government and the Environment has published the results of its ongoing radiation monitoring. The annual report for 2002 details the results of tests on locally-produced foods such as milk, meat and seafood. No hazardous level of radioactivity was found in any of the foods examined, although radioactive contamination from Sellafield is detectable in local seafood and on the Isle of Man coastline. The presence of low-level contamination due to radioactive discharges from Sellafield will continue until British Nuclear Fuels can fully implement new technology to clean up radioactive waste.

Environment Minister, the Hon. Pamela M. Crowe, MLC, commented,

I find radioactive pollution objectionable. I can assure you we will continue to complain about it. Only constant pressure from all concerned, individuals and Governments including ourselves, Ireland, Norway and elsewhere, will force the nuclear industry to bring this pollution to an end. The UK Government has already signed-up to near zero discharges by 2020. We want to see a more rapid progress towards zero discharges. The complete closure of Sellafield remains the Isle of Man Government consulted policy. I will continue the campaign against this pollution and the other hazards presented by the storage of such large quantities of waste at Sellafield, whilst at all times protecting the image of the Isle of Man as a safe and clean environment, which of course it is.

The report also shows that radioactive discharges from Sellafield continue to result in low-level radioactive contamination of lobsters. Technetium-99 levels in lobsters have remained constant over the past two years at around 170 Becquerels per kilogram. Higher concentrations are found in lobsters caught off the Cumbrian coast although even those levels cannot be linked to any measurable health impact on consumers.

Manx consumers who eat considerable quantities of local seafood are unlikely to receive more than 2% of the acceptable radiation exposure limit for the general public.

The 2002 Report is available on the Isle of Man Government Laboratory Website at www.gov.im/govlabs where you can find other environmental reports of interest to Isle of Man residents.

The Minister, accompanied by Dr. Paul McKenna; Mr. G. M. Quayle, MHK; Captain A. C. Douglas, MHK; Mr. E. G. Lowey, MLC; Mr. P. Gawne, MHK; will be meeting Sellafield officials on site on the 21st August to reinforce the need for the full implementation of the technology to clean up radioactive waste at Sellafield with no discharges to sea.

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