Radioactive releases from the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, while small in past years, were even lower in 1989, according to a monitoring report released this week.

INEL scientists say none of the 1989 releases were detectable beyond the borders of the sprawling eastern Idaho site. As a result, they again say the facility's 1989 operations had no impact on area health or the environment."As in the previous years, the effects of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory operations were negligible to the off-site environment," manager Augustine Pitrolo said in a cover letter to the INEL's annual environmental report.

The numbers indicate that the INEL releases dropped considerably in 1989.

The year before, more than 124,000 curies of radiation were released through site smokestacks. Last year's figure was 22,000 curies.

In 1988, 270 curies of liquid radionuclides were released. In 1989, the figure was 140 curies.

A shutdown at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant contributed to the big reduction. The plant's nuclear fuel processing work was on hold through 1989 while the plant's underground pipes were upgraded.