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Will Scotland’s next Chief Minister heed the warnings of Dounreay?

25 Mar 23, DEAR Ms Forbes, Ms Regan and Mr Yousaf,

Please tell me if you will honour the current SNP commitment against any new nuclear energy production in Scotland.

I am asking you about this because Scotland is already paying a terrible price for being chosen as the UK’s remote and expendable area for experiments with nuclear technology and nuclear waste dumping.

In 1986, during the EDRP Public Inquiry in Caithness, the UK Atomic Energy Authority was forced to release documents which showed that highly radioactive, potentially lethal fragments of nuclear-spent fuel had been dumped on beaches and on the seabed at Dounreay.

These fragments were first discussed with shop stewards at Dounreay in 1983. At that first discussion, the shop stewards were warned not to share the information “to avoid public panic”. Most of the workforce at Dounreay were in any case bound by the Official Secrets Act. The public inquiry nevertheless encouraged some of these workers to share more information about appalling incidents within their community – caused directly by the nuclear industry.

Forty years later, those lethal fragments of nuclear-spent fuel are still there – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has confirmed that they are irretrievable. The awful legacies of nuclear mistakes at Dounreay also include large tracts of land which will not be safe to use – in any way – for at least 300 years. Nuclear mistakes continue throughout the world, including to this day at Dounreay and at Windscale/ Sellafield.

It is important that your generation of political leaders is made aware of this awful history: it is now your responsibility to avoid such mistakes and to protect the wellbeing of Scotland’s land, sea and people.

With its new policy of “Great British Nuclear”, the Westminster Tory government is defying the findings of the 1976 report on “Nuclear Power and the Environment” by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. It advised that no further development of nuclear power should be made until a safe method of nuclear waste was confirmed. No such method has been found.

More worryingly, that same Westminster government is currently attempting to evade international treaties which ban the dumping of nuclear waste in international waters – by working towards a nuclear dump in the Irish Sea off Dumfries, Galloway and Cumbrian coasts.

I would appreciate a prompt reply.

Frances McKie

Evanton, Ross-shire


March 26, 2023 - Posted by | UK, wastes

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