Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 31 March, 1998

Written Answers. - Radioactive Waste.

19. Ms McManus asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he has received the report of the task force on radioactive dumping in the Irish Sea; when it is intended to publish the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8007/98]

46. Mr. Finucane asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he will publish the task force report on the dumping of radioactive [507] waste; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7802/98]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Dr. Woods): I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 46 together.

I understand that the work of the Task Force on the Dumping of Radioactive Materials in the Maritime Area is at an advanced stage and the preparation of its report is under way. I expect to receive the report shortly.

As Deputies will recall, I established the task force last year in the wake of revelations by the UK authorities that documents had been discovered in the Public Record Office in London which indicated that radioactive waste had been dumped in the Beaufort Dyke in the North Irish Sea during the 1950s. Subsequent archival searches revealed hitherto unreported instances of dumping in Beaufort Dyke and at a number of other locations around the coast of the United Kingdom during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The Government was very concerned by these revelations. Accordingly, I asked the task force to review and assess the information becoming available on the dumping of radioactive materials in the maritime area and, based on this review, to advise on survey-monitoring and management measures to ensure maximum protection to our marine resources and restore public confidence in the quality of the marine environment.

The task force, which is chaired by Nuala Butler, barrister, includes representatives from the Radiological Protection Institute, University College, Dublin, the Marine Institute, the Department of Public Enterprise and the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources.

As I previously indicated, it is my intention to publish the report of the task force.