Radioactive Substances Committee 2021

12 February 2021

OSPAR’s Radioactive Substances Committee (RSC) met online from 9-11 February 2021.

Chair Justin Gwynn (Norway) guided RSC through a packed agenda which focused mainly on matters relating to the preparation of the next assessment of discharges and concentrations of radioactive substances that RSC will finalise in 2022. This Fifth Periodic Evaluation (5PE) will build on past evaluations and will assess discharges, environmental concentrations and the radiological impacts on man and biota in the assessment period 2012 to 2018. RSC conduct such evaluations to demonstrate Contracting Parties’ progress towards the strategic objective in OSPAR’s 2010-2021 North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy: to prevent pollution of the OSPAR maritime area from ionising radiation through progressive and substantial reductions of discharges, emissions and losses of radioactive substances, with the ultimate aim of concentrations in the environment near background values for naturally occurring radioactive substances and close to zero for artificial radioactive substances. The 5PE will then feed into OSPAR’s next full assessment of the state of the North-East Atlantic, the Quality Status Assessment 2023.

The meeting also refined the radioactive substances’ operational objectives under the new 2030 strategy and gave a first go at defining tasks for its implementation.

A new intersessional correspondence group for the RSC Expert Assessment Panel was established to guarantee the quality of the data reported by Contracting Parties.

Kins Leonard (United Kingdom) retired as vice-chair after many years of dedicated service to RSC. The Chair wished him a fond farewell and thanked him for all the work, support and enthusiasm he had shown. Adam Stackhouse (United Kingdom) was voted in by acclamation and said “I am delighted to have been elected vice-chair of RSC. I am looking forward to working with all contracting parties and observers to successfully deliver the objectives of the radioactive substances strategy”.