RPII Publishes Annual Report 2011

Date released: Dec 17 2012

Progress in tackling radon and response to Fukushima accident highlighted.

In its annual report for 2011, released today, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) highlighted progress in tackling the public health issue of radon gas and the response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident

The Fukushima accident was the first large-scale nuclear emergency since the establishment of the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. The response to the accident, coordinated at a national level, included an assessment of consequent radioactivity levels in Ireland, the provision of information and advice to Irish citizens in Japan and to the Irish public and media, and the monitoring of food imports. Throughout the period from 11 March to mid-May, the RPII mobilised its resources to ensure that Government and the public were kept informed of any potential for the accident to impact Ireland.

On the publication of the RPII’s annual report for 2011, Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive said: "In terms of radiation protection, the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station dominated events in 2011 and it has resulted in a renewed focus on improving nuclear safety and emergency response capabilities at the national and international level. While the radiation doses in Ireland from the Fukushima accident were extremely low and of no health consequence, the accident underlines the fact that there is no room for complacency and that all countries, even those with no nuclear facilities, must have arrangements in place to respond effectively in the event of an accident.”

Radon Gas

A key milestone was reached in September 2011, with the Government decision to establish an inter-agency group to develop a National Radon Control Strategy for Ireland. The task of the group is to develop a strategy that will reduce both the overall population risk and the individual risk for people living with high radon concentrations. A public consultation on the draft strategy will be launched in early 2013.

Other highlights from the 2011 Annual Report include:

  • The publication in July 2011 of the RPII Inspection and Licensing Activities and Annual Inspection Programme for 2011 which provides details of the processes and priorities associated with licensing and inspection marked the RPII’s commitment to enhance transparency of the RPII’s regulatory process.
  • Over 5500 radon measurements in homes were completed in 2011 with one home identified with radon levels almost 200 times the national Reference Level.
  • 59 new licences were issued during the year for the custody and use of radioactive sources and equipment bringing the total number of licensees in Ireland to 1743.
  • 224 inspections were carried out during the year.
  • 1663 environmental samples and foodstuffs were measured for radioactivity content during the year.
  • Over 8000 individuals were monitored for radiation exposure by the dosimetry service.
  • Doses to typical seafood consumers were less than 1 microsievert compared to the annual average dose of 3950 microsieverts from all sources.
  • The RPII took part in 6 international emergency exercises.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Executive summary of the 2011 annual report.

The full annual report and accounts for 2011 in English and in Irish.
 

About the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII)

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is the national organisation with responsibility for ensuring that people and the environment in Ireland are protected from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

The RPII fulfils its remit by strong and effective regulation of all those who use radiation sources and by working in partnership with other regulatory authorities. The RPII monitors people’s exposure to radiation and provides advice to the public and the Government on radiation sources, and on the corresponding risks and their management. The RPII is central to Ireland’s emergency preparedness in the event of a nuclear accident abroad and also monitors developments in relation to nuclear installations abroad. It has no role in the promotion or otherwise of nuclear power.

The RPII is committed to scientific excellence, and its advice is based on internationally agreed standards and on peer-reviewed research.

The RPII was established in 1992 under the Radiological Protection Act, 1991 and is financed by a grant from the Exchequer and by income from licence fees and radiation measurement services. The licence fees and charges for measurement services are approved by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

The RPII is an independent regulatory authority.