Protection of the environment from radiation and reduced releases to the North East Atlantic were important topics at the meeting of the Radioactive Substances Committee (RSC) in the Oslo-Paris convention meeting hosted by Norway and held in Tromsø in January 2007. The main issue of discussion was how to implement the Sintra statement made in 1998 by the environmental ministers, which stated goals for reducing discharges of radioactive substances to the marine environment. An important aspect is how to evaluate whether the contracting parties are acting in accordance with the Sintra statement and the OSPAR strategy with regard to radioactive substances . The basis for evaluating the environmental detriment, the concentrations in the environment and the doses to man arising from discharges of radioactivity, are questions which needs a common understanding. Working groups were established to work on these items. At the annual meeting reports on liquid discharges from nuclear industries have been presented. These reports gave indications on whether discharges are reduced. National implementation of best available technique (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) were presented and discussed.
According to the Sintra statement the committee shall, by 2003, report on progress in the work on establishing a framework for protection of the environment from radioactive contamination.
The European Commission gave information on the new project MARINA 2 which will give information on radionuclide concentrations in the environment. The project will be headed by NCC.
Ireland and Norway expressed their concern for the high releases of technetium-99 to the Irish Sea from Sellafield. At present the British Environment Agency has published its intentions with respect to the review of release authorisation of Tc-99 from Sellafield. There is now a public consultation on the EA recommendation, which is to keep the 90 TBq limit until 2006 and then reduce it to 10 TBq following the implementation of new abatement techniques.