Radiation protection of the public and the environment
Protección Radiológica del público y del medio ambiente
The purpose of the radiological protection of the public and the environment is to control the risk due to the presence of radioactivity in the environment, both of natural origin and that arising from the operation of nuclear and radioactive facilities. Environmental radioactivity originates in nature itself although in recent decades its levels have been increased by human activity. Notable among the causes are the atmospheric nuclear tests carried out in the 1950s and 1970s, the controlled discharges from nuclear and radioactive facilities and some accidents.
The responsibilities of the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) include that of supervising the measures for the radiological protection of the public and the environment, as well as controlling and monitoring:
- Discharges of radioactive materials to the exterior of nuclear and radioactive facilities as well as their particular or cumulative effect on their areas of influence and estimating their radiological impact and that of the activities that involve the use of ionising radiation.
- The radiological quality of the environment throughout the country, complying with Spain's international obligations in this matter, and collaborating with the relevant authorities in matters of environmental radiological monitoring.
The CSN undertakes this control by assessing the data provided by the licensees in periodic operating reports and other reports and by inspecting facilities and activities with ionising radiation. It also has its own environmental radiological monitoring programmes.