Fall in liquid radioactive releases from Swiss nuclear plants

Swiss nuclear facilities successfully reduced their liquid radioactive releases in recent years. This emerged from the seventh report submitted by Switzerland on the implementation of the OSPAR Convention.

In its implementation report, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI concluded that in treating radioactive water from nuclear facilities the best available technology (BAT) and best environmental practice (BEP) had been applied.

Target value undershot in all Swiss nuclear plants since 2016

Based on the Convention, ENSI prescribes a target value to the nuclear facilities in Switzerland of one giga becquerel per year for liquid radioactive releases (without tritium), which must be observed in accordance with proportionality. This resulted in a reduction of liquid radioactive releases (without tritium):

  • The Mühleberg nuclear power plant put a vaporizing plant into operation in 2015 and was able to cut its releases from seven giga becquerel (2007) to 0.26 (2016) and 0.1 giga becquerel (2017).
  • Since 2010, the intermediate storage facility Würenlingen has reduced its releases to under one giga becquerel per year by binding and filtering radioactive caesium 137 in the waste water with an inorganic ion-exchange material.
  • The Beznau nuclear power plant put its crossflow nanofiltration into operation in 2007 and after this reached a value of under one giga becquerel per year.
  • Since its commissioning, the Gösgen nuclear power plant has been one of the pressurized water reactors in Europe with the lowest releases.
  • The Leibstadt nuclear power plant and Paul Scherrer Institute also succeeded in keeping their releases at a consistently low level or even reducing them.

Since 2016, all of the Swiss nuclear power plants have undershot the target value of one giga becquerel per year of liquid radioactive releases (without tritium).

Conservation of the North Atlantic

The signatories of the OSPAR Convention are called on to submit a summary report every five years regarding the radioactive releases of all nuclear power facilities. Switzerland prepared its Seventh Implementation Report in this context. Fifteen governments and the EU are cooperating in the context of the OSPAR Convention to conserve the ocean environment of the North Atlantic.