CSN Liquid and gaseous effluents

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Liquid and gaseous effluents

Efluentes líquidos y gaseosos

Facilities that may generate radioactive effluents that could cause a significant radiological risk must be equipped with independent and specific systems for their storage, treatment and disposal to ensure the protection of the public and to minimise their radiological impact.

The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) establishes the limits for liquid and gaseous radioactive discharges that can be made by the facilities and requires the development of a programme for controlling effluents that allows:

  • Knowing about, monitoring and controlling radioactive discharges.
  • Checking compliance with the discharge limits.
  • Ensuring the operability of the waste treatment systems.
  • Estimating the dosage received by the population.

The CSN checks the compliance with these programmes by assessing the data sent by the licensees in the monthly operating reports and by inspecting the facilities.

In the annual reports to the Congress and the Senate, information is included on the radioactive effluents control programmes and the results of the discharges from the facilities during the year. Discharge data are also sent annually to the European Commission and to the Oslo and Paris Conventions for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) and periodically to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

Data on the discharge of liquid and gaseous effluent from nuclear facilities are stored in the CNS’s ELGA database that is updated monthly with the information sent by the owners.

Based on the discharge data, the facilities’ licensees provide an annual estimate of the doses received by the population reference groups around the facilities. These estimates, which are assessed by the CSN, are made using mathematical models that reflect the distribution of the pollutants in the environment and that take into account the specific characteristics of the site such as weather, hydrology, uses of land and water and the distribution and habits of the population. Environmental radiological monitoring programmes have been established to check the precision of these models and to monitor the discharges in the various ecosystems.