New radiation protection requirements for biomass imported into Latvia

On 15 September 2020, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers adopted Rules No. 576, which prescribe more stringent radiation protection requirements for biomass (firewood, woodchips and sawdust) imported into the Latvian territory that will apply starting 1 January 2021.

WE WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL APPLY TO ALL BIOMASS SUPPLIES TO THE LATVIAN TERRITORY STARTING 1 JANUARY 2021, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER A CONTRACT UNDER WHICH A SUPPLY IS TO BE CARRIED OUT IS CONCLUDED BEFORE THE 1 JANUARY 2021.

The following requirements will be enforced starting 1 January 2021:

  • The specific radioactivity of the radionuclide 137Cs in biomass products may not exceed 10 Bq/kg in dry timber.

We hereby note that the specific radioactivity of the radionuclide 137Cs must be determined in timber dried until constant weight.

  • The waybill must be accompanied by the original or a verified copy of a radiological check document (a copy may be verified by the relevant biomass seller/importer itself):
    • A radiation passport issued by an accredited laboratory;
    • A document issued by the sending country’s forestry department containing a reference to the relevant document issued by an accredited laboratory; or
    • Other document that specifies the specific activity of137Cs in biomass as determined by an accredited laboratory.
  • Radiological checks may only be performed by an accredited laboratory.

Currently, this service in Lithuania is only provided by the Radiation Protection Centre.

  • Additional restrictions applicable to operators of combustion installations (power plants/boiler houses) operating in Latvia that use biomass imported into Latvia from another country:
    • They must store radiological check documents for five years and provide these documents at the request of supervisory authorities;
    • If the nominal thermal capacity of a combustion installation is above 5MW, a radiological study of produced ash must be conducted during the heating season (from October to April) once per month.

The rules in the Latvian language are available at Rules No. 576 of the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers dated 15 September 2020.