Environment Minister for Northern Ireland Mark H Durkan released a report on the disposal of radioactive material to two landfill sites in Northern Ireland, concluding that it poses no risk.
Concerns were raised last month following reports based on a parliamentary question from 1983, which detailed disposal of radioactive waste at Duncrue Street in North Belfast and at Culmore Point, outside Derry.
As a result, the Minister asked his officials in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to investigate the issue. The report outlines their findings.
Mark H Durkan – “The report has now been completed and concludes that disposals carried out by way of ‘controlled burial’ at the two landfill sites were in accordance with relevant authorisations and guidance available at the time”
Mark H Durkan said: “I commissioned this urgent report in December, to establish the facts about radioactive waste disposal at these two sites.
“The report has now been completed and concludes that disposals carried out by way of ‘controlled burial’ at the two landfill sites were in accordance with relevant authorisations and guidance available at the time. In NIEA’s view this practice presented no plausible risk to people or the environment.”
The report further notes that there is evidence a conservative approach was taken by regulators and by holders of authorisations. For example, materials were often decay stored for long periods and some materials were disposed of by controlled burial where the guidance suggests disposal along with ordinary refuse would have been acceptable at the time.
The Public Health Agency has been consulted and shares the NIEA’s view in respect of human health.
Cllr Sean Carr, chairman of Derry City Council’s Environmental Services Committee, welcomed the publication of the report and the clarification it provides on this issue.“I would like to thank the Environment Minister for his prompt response in dealing with this important issue and providing reassurance to the public in relation to any potential concerns they may have,” he said.
For the full report CLICK HERE