Discharges

Discharges from Sellafield (see Figs 16.8 and 16.9 , compiled from Gray et al., 1995; Jackson et al., 2000; Environment Agency et al., 1971-2011 and

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16.8 Total alpha and total beta discharges to air from Sellafield, 1951 — 2010. Note that total alpha and total beta are control measures with defined meanings under the terms of site permits.

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16.9 Total alpha and total beta discharges to sea from Sellafield, 1951-2010. Note that total alpha and total beta are control measures with defined meanings under the terms of site permits.

BNFL, 1976-2004) illustrate the influence of many factors affecting LLW management, including perception of tolerable risk, the design and specifi­cation of new plant and post-operational waste conditioning, and the chang­ing emphasis to reduce discharges to the environment in favour of solid waste disposals.

Peak discharges to air occurred in the 1960s and peak discharges to sea occurred in the 1970s. Over the past decades there has been an increasing emphasis on effluent treatment and containment of radioactivity within solid wastes. At the same time, there has also been an increasing emphasis on reducing waste arisings and on volume reduction for those wastes that cannot be avoided. The rise in discharges to sea during 2001 reflected pri­marily processing of larger quantities of medium active concentrates (with associated increased discharges of Tc-99 and Sr-90). Discharges of C-14 to sea also increased in 2001, mainly due to diversion (by introduction of a gas scrubber) of activity previously discharged to air, recognising that this diversion was made to reduce the overall environmental impact of site discharges (BNFL, 2002).

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