Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 12°C

Search

BNF admits tiny Sizewell leak

PUBLISHED: 12:18 21 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

BRITISH Nuclear Fuels has had to inform the Environment Agency after a rise in emissions of a potentially-dangerous radionuclide from its Sizewell A power station.

BRITISH Nuclear Fuels has had to inform the Environment Agency after a rise in emissions of a potentially-dangerous radionuclide from its Sizewell A power station.

However, it said the amount involved was "minute", annual emission limits would not be breached and work was taking place to solve the problem.

All nuclear power stations are authorised to discharge tiny amounts of radioactivity into the environment.

Each power station is given discharge limits by the Environment Agency for individual radionuclides and, if a certain level is exceeded during a three-month period, then it has to be notified.

British Nuclear Fuels has now been obliged to notify the Environment Agency of a quarterly increase in emissions of Caesium 137 – a long-lived radionuclide that can be dangerous to human health in the event of long-term exposure at a relatively-high dose.

It is among the radionuclides emitted by worn-out fuel pins when they are removed from the reactor. The pins are stored below water in cooling ponds on the power station sites and sometimes leak radioactivity into the water.

British Nuclear Fuels spokesman Robin Thornton said work was under way to ensure the annual Caesium 137 emission limit was not breached. That included removing the suspected leaking fuel pins and transporting them to Sellafield for reprocessing.

"The emissions involved are minute. Even if we were to discharge up to our annual limit for Caesium 137, the dose to any members of the public would, at maximum, be equivalent to the atmospheric radiation they get from spending just 10 minutes on an airliner," he added.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists