Expert Group on the Implications of Effluent Release Options (EGRO)

Radioactive effluent releases from nuclear installations, in normal operation, have been reduced in recent years, but are still subject to much discussion. The demand for further reductions is generally driven by societal concerns about the protection of the environment. Regarding the optimisation of effluent releases, there are several different approaches, such as the concept of the best available technology (BAT), or the as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) approach that is well known in radiation protection.

The OSPAR Commission, a political body concerned with the pollution of the marine environment, introduced the OSPAR Strategy with Regard to Radioactive Substances (Sintra, July 1998), which calls for a reduction of radioactive emissions to a level that would result in concentrations of artificial radionuclides in the environment that are “close to zero”. In order to assist experts and decision makers to fully understand the technical implications and feasibility of the various effluent release options being discussed, the CRPPH agreed to launch an expert group on this subject. The results of this group's work will serve as decisional background information for CRPPH members and other experts faced with such choices, as well as input to the CRPPH views on the evolution of the system of radiation protection.

The expert group's report was finalised and published at the end of 2003. At its 61st meeting, the CRPPH approved the EGRO's draft report with some minor comments. With the completion of its mandate, the group disbanded.

Related links

Effluent Release Options from Nuclear Installations: Technical Background and Regulatory Aspects (pdf, 425 kb)

OSPAR Radioactive Substances Strategy

OSPAR Commission

Terms of Reference  

Created: March 2001

Next Review: March 2003

Chair: Mr. Olli Vilkamo, Finland

The Terms of Reference of this Group are as follows:

  1. Identify various options for the routine release of low-level radioactive substances from nuclear installations, including the option of "close to zero" gaseous and liquid releases.
  2. Discuss the technical implications of the options identified.
  3. Compare the concepts of "Best Available Technology (BAT)" and "As Low As Reasonable Achievable (ALARA)" as underlying principles for the optimisation process regarding radioactive effluent releases. Investigate whether these approaches lead to the same result.
  4. Based on this work, develop a draft document with factual information on various effluent release options, in co-operation with other NEA committees such as the CNRA, NDC and RWMC. The document may be used to assist future discussions, nationally and internationally. Submit the draft document to CRPPH members for review and comment, with the aim of publication by the end of 2002.