An accident at one of eight proposed new nuclear power plants in Britain would have a socio-economic impact on Ireland, a new study claims.
But the report by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland found that even in the worst accident scenario, health effects on people living in this country would be limited.
The study was commissioned by the Minister for the Environment on foot of plans by the British government to build nuclear plants at eight new sites before 2025.
The report examines possible impacts of these plants during day-to-day operations and in the event of severe accidents.
It found that the routine operation of the proposed plants would have no measurable radiological impact in Ireland.
The authors also ran five accident scenarios, ranging from mild to severe.
They found in the worst case accident scenario, including loss of coolant and a bypass of containment in a reactor, people would be advised to stay indoors as much as possible during the passage of the plume for between 24-48 hours.
Food controls and long-term changes in farming practices would be needed to ensure long-term radiation doses from contaminated food would not reach levels that could increase cancer risks.
These measures would have socio-economic costs, the report says.
Additional monitoring of the environment and food would be needed in the years to decades following the accident.
However, the RPII says evacuation would not be needed.
The study also found that a severe radiation leak into the Irish Sea, equivalent to the Fukushima accident, would lead to a radiation dose that would be less than the annual radiation dose limit for the public.
Contamination in the air from day-to-day operation or an accident would be transported away from Ireland 90% of the time, the study found.
The report says that in the event of a severe accident scenario, with loss of coolant combined with a reactor leak, an easterly wind and rain over Ireland, there would be a long-term risk of an increase in cancer rates, if planned food controls and agriculture protective actions were not put in place.
All other less severe accident scenarios would have no observable health effects in Ireland, it says.