Radioactivity: Monitoring

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 29th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Carlile of Berriew Lord Carlile of Berriew Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are being taken to ensure that the UK maintains its monitoring programmes of the levels of radioactivity in the environment following withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty;  whether a reciprocal notification system will be established to ensure that the UK and the Euratom member states can share such information; and what assessment they have made of whether this will be sufficient to provide confidence internationally that the UK is meeting its environmental obligations, and to ensure that the UK is able to understand and provide timely responses to the potential implications of unplanned activities in other countries.

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Our arrangements for protection of the environment from nuclear activities and discharges of radiation will not change as a result of leaving the EU and Euratom. We remain committed to ensuring proper protection of people and the environment.

These expectations and requirements are already enshrined in UK legislation, in particular the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001, Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 (in England and Wales, and the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 in Scotland). We will retain our radiation monitoring capability (RIMNET) which enables the UK to detect abnormal levels of radiation in the environment affecting the UK, including those originating from overseas incidents.

Whilst the Euratom Treaty does establish some specific arrangements for reporting and sharing of information, the same principles of engagement and co-operation are embedded within the conventions of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), notably the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident.

Given that we and other members of Euratom will remain members of the IAEA, the UK will continue to have suitable arrangements in place.

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