OSPAR countries prevent pollution by ionising radiation in the North-East Atlantic

22 September 2022

Press release: 22 September 2022

OSPAR Contact:

Lucy Ritchie

Communications Lead

[email protected]



The Aspect

12 Finsbury Square

London, EC2A 1AS

OSPAR countries prevent pollution by ionising radiation in the North-East Atlantic

Today, following more than two decades of co-operation between the Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention, OSPAR can confirm that the objectives of the OSPAR Radioactive Substances Strategy, first agreed in 1998 and reaffirmed in 2010, have been achieved. Evidence of OSPAR’s Contracting Parties’ success in preventing pollution of the OSPAR Maritime Area by ionising radiation is presented in our latest evaluation (OSPAR Publication 919) and shows that:

  • There have been progressive and substantial reductions in discharges of radionuclides from the nuclear sector
  • Environmental concentrations of artificial radionuclides in the marine environment are stable or have decreased; they are close to or lower than historic levels
  • Environmental concentrations of natural radionuclides discharged by the oil and gas industry are small fraction of natural background levels
  • Environmental concentrations of radionuclides resulting from human activities have not had a significant radiological impact to humans or the marine environment.
Lead author Dr Justin Gwynn (Norway)

Delivering the aims of the OSPAR Convention is an ongoing task and, to this end, new strategic and operational objectives for radioactive substances are included in the North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy 2030.


Note for editors

  1. The OSPAR Commission was set up by the 1992 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, which unified and updated the 1972 Oslo and 1974 Paris Conventions. It brings together the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, together with the European Community.
  2. OSPAR adopted its North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy 2030 at a Ministerial meeting in Cascais (Portugal). Full text https://www.ospar.org/convention/strategy
  3. More than 30 international non-governmental organisations are involved in OSPAR as official Observers. They represent a broad range of interests and expertise related to the marine environment and the uses of marine resources. Many contribute information, insights and standpoints. This is much appreciated feedback from civil society and the economy. The OSPAR Commission greatly values these partnerships that help inform its decisions and other results. (See list on OSPAR website at https://www.ospar.org/organisation/observers).
  4. The full text of OSPAR’s Fifth periodic evaluation of progress towards the objective of the OSPAR Radioactive Substances Strategy can be found here https://oap.ospar.org/en/ospar-assessments/quality-status-reports/qsr-2023/other-assessments/5pe/