It is clear from the available empirical data that coastal populations impacted by prevailing onshore winds and living next to sea areas contaminated with liquid radioactive effluents from nuclear sites, are annually exposed to dietary and inhalation doses of man-made marine radioactivity. Effluents discharged to the sea by nuclear power stations, fuel fabrication sites and reprocessing facilities are transferred from sea to land in airborne sea spray and marine aerosols (micro-droplets). They come in also during episodes of coastal flooding. This problem has been particularly pronounced around the UK Sellafield reprocessing and plutonium production site in Cumbria. In 1988, independent empirical research commissioned by a west Wales local authority reported that Sellafield-derived, sea-discharged cesium had been found in pasture grass up to 10 miles inland of the Ceredigion coast. Clearly, this contributes to human dietary doses via the dairy and beef food chain. The research also implies the inevitability of further dietary doses via arable and horticultural crops. Given that airborne radioactivity is driven at least 10 miles inland, it should be assumed that coastal populations are exposed, on a repeated annual basis, to inhalation doses.
Beyond Nuclear 17th Feb 2019 read more »