, Volume 173, Issue 1-4, pp 653-667
Date: 18 Mar 2010

Application of an environmental impact assessment methodology to a site discharging low levels of radioactivity to a freshwater environment in Norway

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Abstract

Significant shifts in opinion regarding environmental protection from ionising radiation have resulted in the development and availability of bespoke approaches for the assessment of impacts on wildlife from radioactive contaminants. The application of such assessment methodologies to actual situations, however, remains relatively limited. This paper describes the implementation of the ERICA Integrated Approach and associated tools within the context of routine discharges of radioactive materials to a freshwater environment. The article follows the implementation through its relevant stages and discusses strengths and weaknesses of the approach in relation to the case study. For current discharge levels, 137Cs and 60Co constitute the main dose contributors to the majority of reference organisms studied, although 241Am and 3H are the main contributors for the phyto- and zooplankton categories. Patterns are observed depending on whether the reference organism is sediment-associated or not. At current discharge levels, none of the reference organisms exceeded or approached the selected screening level, and impacts on biota could be regarded as negligible.