Only the human-made radioactivity is dangerous.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 2:46 PM
Subject: Fwd: " OIL, GAS EMIT MORE RADIOACTIVITY THAN NUCLEAR " [FW] (fwd)
>Subject: " OIL, GAS EMIT MORE RADIOACTIVITY THAN NUCLEAR " [FW]
> >NUCLEONICS WEEK -May 15, 2003
> >NORTH SEA STUDY: OIL, GAS EMIT
> >MORE RADIOACTIVITY THAN NUCLEAR
> >North Sea oil and gas operations now contribute more
> >man-made radioactivity to North European marine waters
> >than the nuclear industry, according to the Marina II study, a
> >European Commission (EC)-funded project undertaken by
> >international experts to update data on the impact of radioac-
> >tivity in the region's seas.
> >The study found that nuclear industry discharges to sea
> >are back at the same level as the early 1950s, and that natural-
> >ly occurring radioactive materials (NORM) now dominate
> >doses to the European Union (EU) population from industrial
> >discharges, both in terms of alpha activity and overall impact
> >(collective dose).
> >Norway is the largest oil producer in the North Sea and is
> >estimated to provide the greatest impact from current dis-
> >charges. Norway is closely followed by the U.K., with Den-
> >mark and the Netherlands contributing relatively little.
> >In 2000, according to the study, radioactive discharges
> >from the non-nuclear industries were estimated to contribute
> >more than 90%of the European population's total exposure
> >from discharges into the marine region covered by the Ospar
> >(Oslo &Paris) Convention. Oil and gas operations contribut-
> >ed 35.3% and phosphates, 55.4%.
> >This compared with the contribution to the collective
> >dose rate from discharges of 3.8% from British Nuclear Fuels
> >plc's (BNFL) Sellafield reprocessing complex, 1.7% from
> >Cogema's La Hague facilities, 3.3% from weapons fallout,
> >0.2% from Chernobyl fallout, and 0.1% from nuclear power stations.
> >However, the overall impact of the discharges to the EU
> >population can be gauged from the fact that, even at the dis-
> >charges' peak, the collective dose rate was around a factor of
> >20 less than the annual collective dose from natural radioac-
> >tivity in the marine environment.
> >The Marina II results have been circulating within the
> >expert community for some time and have been placed on the
> >Internet and issued as a "Radiation Protection 132 Pre-Publi-
> >cation Copy," but the official report is not expected to be
> >published for another month or so.
> >NORM is discharged as a result of phosphate fertilizer
> >production, although such discharges have been reduced
> >since the 1990s, and from the extraction of oil and gas from
> >the continental shelf in the North Sea, mainly in the Norwe-
> >gian and U.K.sectors.
> >NORM accumulates as scale inside pipework and valves
> >at offshore oil and gas production platforms. It also gathers as
> >sludge in separator tanks and other vessels. It is discharged in
> >"produced water " and its radionuclides of radium--226 and
> >Ra-228 and Pb-210 (lead) become available in concentrated
> >form for consumption by marine biota.
> >The study was managed by U.K.-based NNC Ltd.under a
> >contract with the EC's Directorate General for Environment
> >(NW, 22 March '01,11). NNC worked with experts belonging
> >to scientific institutions such as the U.K.'s National Radio-
> >logical Protection Board,the Netherlands' Institute for Fishery
> >Investigation and NRG nuclear consultancy, Denmark 's
> >Riso National Laboratory, France's CEPN, Russia's SPA
> >Typhoon, and Ireland's University College in Dublin. The
> >team collaborated with Greenpeace, IAEA, the International
> >Union of Radioecologists, Friends of the Earth, and the World
> >Nuclear Association.
> >The study's results have been considered by the Ospar
> >parties and resulted in a decision to recommend the reporting
> >of discharges from the non-nuclear industries.
> >The Ospar Convention for the Protection of the Marine
> >Environment of the North East Atlantic was established in
> >1992. Its target is to ensure that radioactive discharges to the
> >marine environment in the region are reduced to levels "close
> >to zero" by 2020.. The Marina II data is expected to help
> >establish a baseline against which progress in implementing
> >the strategy can be evaluated.
> >Marina II concluded that the overall civilian nuclear and
> >other anthropogenic inputs of radioactivity into the North
> >East Atlantic decreased by several orders of magnitude for
> >alpha-and beta-emitters and for tritium since the maximum
> >levels were reached in the 1960s and early 1970s. Over the
> >same period, this resulted in reductions in radionuclide con-
> >centrations in the marine environment and in the individual
> >doses to members of critical groups and in collective doses to
> >the public.
> >Since the mid-1980s, the main contribution to discharges
> >of beta activity into the Ospar region is from nuclear repro-
> >cessing while the discharges of alpha-activity have been
> >dominated by the phosphate industry and, later, by oil pro-
> >duction in the North Sea.
> >Remobilization of radionuclides from the marine sedi-
> >ments is the other major factor in radioactive exposure. "The
> >importance of this phenomenon in the Irish Sea results from
> >the fact that the discharges from Sellafield have been reduced
> >around 100-fold since the 1970s," said one of the study's
> >authors, NNC 's Mark Gerchikov.
> >"Now these remobilized radionuclides are more important
> >than those resulting from any new discharges. In practice, this
> >means that reducing current discharges to zero -Ospar poli-
> >cy -will not affect concentrations of some important radionu-
> >clides such as the plutonium isotopes."
> >Nuclear industry discharges are still dominated by repro-
> >cessing activity. Excluding the Chernobyl fallout in 1986,
> >the input of beta activity (excluding tritium,which has a very
> >low radiotoxicity) into the Ospar region decreased by more
> >than a factor of four from 1986 to 1991. By this date, the
> >annual discharge had reached the same level as in the early
> >1950s. The reason was the major reductions in discharges by
> >reprocessors BNFL and Cogema.
> >Over the same period, the discharges of alpha activity into
> >the Ospar region from Sellafield and La Hague decreased by a
> >factor of three. Inputs of tritium, which decreased after the
> >mid-1960s, have increased since the mid-1980s due to the
> >increase in reprocessing at La Hague.
> >The Marina II study can be accessed at:
> >( http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/radprot/execsummary.pdf ).
> >-Pearl Marshall, London
Klaus Becker, Boothstr. 27, D-12207 Berlin