STUK supervises STUK supervises

STUK supervises

STUK supervises

Discharge of radioactive substances into the air

Discharge of radioactive substances into the air

The discharges of gaseous radioactive substances produced at the power plant are cleaned by filtering and slowing down their release before they can enter the environment around the nuclear power plant.

The aim is to keep the discharges as low as possible through practical measures. Gaseous radioactive substances are discharged via the plant’s tall ventilation chimney into the air.

Before the discharge, the level of radioactive substances is measured using a radiation meter. Samples of discharged air are also collected continuously for more precise analyses. Using precise measurement methods, nuclear power plant companies determine the composition and activity levels of the radioactive substances obtained from the air samples. Nuclear power plant companies report discharge data to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority on a quarterly basis. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority inspects the discharge reports received.

Methods of measurement of nuclear power plant discharges have been approved by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority regularly inspects the power plants’ discharge systems.

In the analysis of the substances discharged into the air from nuclear power plants in Finland, an aver-age of ten to twenty different radioactive substances are detected each year. The most common nu-clides discharged into the air were tritium, carbon-14, argon-41, chromium-51, manganese-54, cobalt-58 and -60, silver-110m, antimony-122 and -124, iodine-131 and cesium-137. Argon-41 is a nuclide that is found in significant amounts only in the discharges from the Loviisa power plant. Other radio-nuclides detected at nuclear power plants in Finland include: iron-59, arsenic-76, bromine-82, different isotopes of krypton (-85m, -87 and -88), niobium-95, tellurium-123m, different isotopes of iodine (-132, -133 and -135), cesium-134 and different isotopes of xenon (-133, -133m, -135, -135m and -138).

The discharge data are used to evaluate the radiation exposure of residents around the nuclear power plant (the dose of the “most exposed person” in the environment). The amount of discharges has a direct impact on the radiation doses of the most exposed person in the environment.

The discharge volumes of inert gases at the Loviisa nuclear power plant have decreased slightly during 2009–2018. No significant changes have been observed in the discharges of radioactive inert gases (Kr-87 equiv.) at the Loviisa power plant between 2009 and 2018. The prevailing substance in the discharges was argon-41, which is generated from the argon-40 in the air between the reactor pressure vessel and the main radiation protector.

 

During 2009–2018, the discharge volumes of iodine isotopes at the Loviisa nuclear power plant were highest in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and lowest in 2011, 2012 and 2017.There was variation in the iodine isotopes (I-131 equiv.) discharged into the air from the Loviisa power plant between 2009 and 2018. Small fuel leaks in the power plant units affected the levels of iodine discharges in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

 

 The discharge volumes of particulate aerosols at the Loviisa nuclear power plant have decreased after 2013.The discharges of aerosol particles from the Loviisa power plant were almost at the same level as previous year's. The levels of aerosol discharges were higher than normal in 2013, due to the release of short-lived As-76 (arsenic) from both plant units during the additional shutdowns at the end of that year.

 

During 2009–2018, the discharge volumes of radioactive inert gases at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant were highest in 2016 and 2017. Variation was observed in the discharges of radioactive inert gases (Kr-87 equiv.) from the Olkiluoto power plant between 2009 and 2018. In 2009, 2014 and 2015 radioactive inert gases were not detected at all. Small fuel leaks in the power plant units affected the levels of inert gas discharges between 2016 and 2018.

 

During 2009–2018, the discharge volumes of iodine isotopes discharged into the air from the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant were highest in 2016–2018 and lowest in 2009, 2014 and 2015.There was variation in the iodine isotopes (I-131 equiv.) discharged into the air from the Olkiluoto power plant between 2009 and 2018. Small fuel leaks in the power plant units affected the levels of discharges between 2016 and 2018.

 

The discharge volumes of particulate aerosols at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant were low during 2009–2015, but increased considerably during 2016–2018.
In June 2016, releases from the turbine building occurred in Olkiluoto, causing short-lived noble gas and aerosol nuclides to pass straight to to exhaust air pipe. The event is particularly marked by an increase in the level of aerosol releases, but the impact of these short-lived nuclides on the radiation safety of the environment is minimal. Similar events took place in 2017 and 2018.

Contact

Contact

  • Sovijärvi Jukka
    Section Head / SÄT tel. +358975988519