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Dangerous ionising radiation lingers at Scottish beach

Some of the particles found on the foreshore near a sailing club used by thousands of families are so highly radioactive that they could be lethal if they found their way inside the body. According to Sepa, outside the body they are “hot” enough to cause radiation burns on exposed skin.

Visitors at risk as MoD stops radiation monitoring at resort – Herald Scotland | News, Rob Edwards,  3 Oct 2010The health of visitors to one of Scotland’s most popular coastal resorts is being put at risk from radioactive contamination because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stopped monitoring the area.The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is now threatening to take legal action to force the MoD to continue cleaning up Dalgety Bay in Fife, which is being repeatedly polluted by dangerous radioactive debris left over from the Second World War.

Some of the particles found on the foreshore near a sailing club used by thousands of families are so highly radioactive that they could be lethal if they found their way inside the body. According to Sepa, outside the body they are “hot” enough to cause radiation burns on exposed skin.

Dalgety Bay was the site of the Donibristle military airfield, where a large number of aircraft were dismantled after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The dials in the planes were coated with luminous, radioactive radium so they could be read at night.

The dials were removed and incinerated in a “bash, burn and bury” policy, along with other waste. The resulting ash and clinker was dumped as landfill to help reclaim part of the headland on the bay. Radioactive contamination in the area was accidentally discovered in 1990 by a monitoring team from the Rosyth naval dockyard. Since then a series of monitoring operations have been carried out, leading to the removal of 23 drums of radioactive waste.

Visitors at risk as MoD stops radiation monitoring at resort – Herald Scotland | News | Transport & Environment

October 4, 2010 - Posted by | environment, UK | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. http://www.sepa.org.uk/about_us/news/2010/dalgety_bay_forum_hears_progre.aspx

    Dalgety Bay Forum hears progress update
    EXT01 – B04
    A meeting of the Dalgety Bay Forum was held today (Monday, 27 September) at which Defence Estates (DE) provided an update on the progress of the monitoring and radioactive contamination recovery work being undertaken by them at the Fife beach.

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has welcomed the monitoring and particle recovery work carried out by Defence Estates over the last year, which has provided some reduction in the potential hazard at Dalgety Bay. However, a review of the monitoring reports to date indicates that the beach repopulates with radioactive sources within a few months of removal.

    Dr Jim Gemmill, SEPA’s Radioactive Substances Unit Manager, said: “The Radioactive Contaminated Land Regulations 2007 (RCL) and the associated guidance placed upon SEPA a duty with respect to situations where lasting exposure to radiation could occur or where there is a significant possibility of an occurrence of radiation exposure. Dalgety Bay has been identified as a priority for assessment by SEPA, as historical reports have shown there is a potential for significant doses to be received by members of the public.

    “SEPA will now consider the characterisation of the particles which have previously been recovered from the Dalgety Bay area by Defence Estate in terms of their physical size and activity, and will work with DE on a risk assessment of the hazards posed at the site in order to better inform any future risk management strategy.

    “Whilst this work is ongoing, all members of the Dalgety Bay Forum agreed that an interim monitoring programme should be put in place. However, at the meeting no commitments were made for this monitoring to occur, SEPA will liaise with Defence Estates on this matter in the near future. SEPA will continue to work with the members of the Dalgety Bay Forum whilst this work is ongoing, and to keep them fully informed as the situation progresses.”

    Comment by Roger | October 4, 2010 | Reply


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