‘Radioactive’ sites under review

by May 14, 2012 No Comments

A dozen sites across Scotland have been marked as potential spots to investigate radioactive contamination, an environmental watchdog has confirmed.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has told Holyrood there are 12 sites which may need to be tested in the future.

But the agency stressed that the only one marked as a priority was at Dalgety Bay in Fife – where the Ministry of Defence has now drawn up a plan of action on how pollution should be cleaned up.

SEPA has said the sites will only be named if a public health risk is identified and it stressed there had been no issues identified at any other sites.

A spokeswoman for the agency said: “SEPA does not name potential sites of interest, because we may investigate and find nothing of concern.

“We do not wish to cause unnecessary alarm or distress to the local residents. If, following investigation, we subsequently have an issue with a site, we will communicate that issue more publicly.

“We have identified 12 sites in Scotland which have, or have had, radioactive contamination which may require investigation. These sites include current and former MoD sites and, of course, Dalgety Bay. At the moment we are concentrating on the investigations at Dalgety Bay.” The list has been maintained since 2007 and the spokeswoman added: “ The list has evolved over time as information has been provided to SEPA. The list is reviewed following new information to ensure that our focus is on the sites where the most significant hazards may be present.

“There are no specific dates for the investigation of the sites, however, it will be on the priority basis.” Dr Paul Dale, a Radioactive Substances Specialist at SEPA, said the agency was writing to the MoD for more information on the remaining sites and investigations could range from a “table-top” exercise, to a full-blown investigation.

Radioactive particles found on the beach in Dalgety Bay are believed to date back to radium paint used on aircraft, which were dumped at the site during the war.

The first particles were found in 1990 and are thought to have come from aircraft from the former MoD base at Donibristle.

Neil Evans Neil Evans

Neil is Holyrood's Environment Correspondent, joining in 2012 after working for newspapers in Corby, Portsmouth and Aberdeen. He was born in Reading but has lived in Scotland since 2007. His first attempt at "being green" was coming up with the idea of an edible crisp packet while at primary school. It didn't catch...

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