§ Mr. Dodsworth
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will consider initiating environmental research into the various pathways of radio effluent;265W
(2) if he is satisfied that the discharge of nuclear effluent into the sea is consistent with exploring methods of using the ocean as a food resource; and if he will make a statement on the coordination of his policy;
(3) what has been the level of increase in radio effluent discharges into the Irish Sea since 1970;
(4) if there is evidence to show that contaminated water lingers near the Cumbrian coast causing a safety hazard; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Bishop
Research into environmental pathways of radioactive waste discharged into the sea has always been a fundamental part of the Ministry's fisheries radiobiological laboratory's work. The purpose of this research is to ensure that the levels of radioactivity in fish will not constitute a hazard to consumers and that fish stocks are not endangered. The stringent control arrangements under which radioactive waste discharges take place are designed to ensure that the use of the sea as a safe source of food is unaffected.
Our monitoring programme shows that there has been some increase since 1970 in the radioactivity discharged from Windscale in reprocessing nuclear fuel. However, the discharges are within the authorisations granted under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, and are well within the limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection and accepted by the National Radiological Protection Board and the Medical Research Council. Our programme has produced no evidence that contaminated water lingers near the Cumbrian coast.