CSN Environmental Radiological Surveillance in Spain

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Environmental Radiological Surveillance in Spain

Viglancia radiológica ambiental en España

A system of networks and environmental radiological monitoring programmes has been set up to know and monitor the radiological quality throughout the country, allowing the:

  • Detection of the presence and monitoring of the development of radioactive elements and environmental radiation levels.
  • Determination of the causes of any increases in environmental radiation levels.
  • Estimating of the potential radiological risk to the population.
  • Setting of precautions and corrective measures, if necessary.
  • Checking of compliance with the requirements set out in the facilities’ authorisations.

This system consists of the following monitoring networks:

  • Surveillance network in the surroundings of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel cycle facilities (PVRA).
  • National Radiological Surveillance Network not associated with facilities (REVIRA). This network includes the sampling stations network (REM) and the automatic stations network (REA).

The data from the automatic stations (REA) are shared with the rest of European countries through the European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP), which publishes them in a single graphical map on its Web site. The map of environmental radiation values, REA, presents mean daily values of gamma dose rate of the stations that measure this parameter.

The results of the sampling stations network (REM) and monitoring programmes associated with facilities (PVRA) can be found in the map of environmental radioactivity values PVRA-REM.

Additionally, specific surveillance programmes are also carried out in areas where there is waste contamination due to past practices such as the site of the old uranium concentrates plant in La Haba, Badajoz (Lobo-G plant) or as a result of accidents (Palomares, CRI-9).

Special programmes are also set up in the event of incidents or accidents affecting the environment, such as that of Chernobyl in 1986, accidents involving the fusing of radioactive sources in steelworks or, more recently, that of Fukushima Daiichi.

The programmes carried out in the surroundings of facilities have a higher density of sampling points and sample collection and analysis frequency than those carried out outside their areas of influence.

The annual reports to the Congress and the Senate include information on the environmental radiological surveillance programmes and their results. Information is also sent annually to the European Commission on the results of the surveillance at a national level. In its collection of technical reports, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council includes annual publications on the surveillance programmes and their results in Spain, containing detailed information and an assessment of them.