Comparison of methods for the radiological impact assessment of aquatic releases to the waters in the low countries

Govert de With, Jordi Vives i Batlle, Roman Bezhenar, Vladimir Maderich, Fabricio Fiengo Perez

Research outputpeer-review


Accurate assessment of the radiological impact of liquid discharges on the marine environment is challenging despite all developments in recent years. The lack of consensus on this type of assessment manifests itself even stronger when transborder issues are expected, such as in the Low Countries. Belgium and the Netherlands operate nuclear power plants with discharges in the shared estuary of the Western Scheldt, therefore if there are safety concerns, information on both sides of the border must be coherent. This work provides a comparison of two computational methods used for assessment of aquatic releases in the Western Scheldt estuary and the adjacent North Sea.The work demonstrates a fair degree of consistency in modelling the uptake and fate of key anthropogenic radionuclides. Nevertheless, there are also considerable differences found in sediment and sea species with concentrations ranging by over two orders of magnitude in some cases. These explainable differences are methodological in nature, occurring in codes that underwent extensive validation during development. Therefore, the outcomes of this work clearly demonstrate the need to produce explicit guidance that is specifically tailored to the (inter)national water system of concern. This should not be limited to releases from nuclear power plants, but also include other nuclear applications. For all these reasons, more intensive collaboration and model harmonisation across borders is essential, signalling the direction for future investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107271
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of environmental radioactivity
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry

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