‘Risk of burns’ warning as more radioactive material discovered at Dalgety Bay

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
Experts have warned that newly discovered radioactive material found at Dalgety Bay may cause burns to human skin if touched.
 
The “significantly radioactive” material was discovered today by Environmental Agency Sepa who have been monitoring the Fife beach for several months.

The discovery is the latest in a series of radioactive fragments found at the beach and follows another find last month that was ten times more radioactive than previous fragments.

Dr Paul Dale, Sepa’s expert in radioactive substances, described the latest find as “high activity” and warned that anyone touching it could be burned.  The material is thought to be a substance used in order to coat dials used in world war II fighter aircraft.

Dr Dale explained that erosion could expose the material, which is currently buried, and confirmed that Sepa was now calling on the MoD to clean up the area.

Dr Dale said: “In Scotland we have a well-established principle that the polluter pays and we have written to the MoD to ask them to come up with a suitable investigation and a subsequent remediation plan for Dalgety Bay and we look forward to those plans coming forward on the 22nd hopefully.”

The expert warned that if the MoD refused to come up with a plan then Sepa could designate the beach as contaminated land and use the radioactive contamination regulations in order to compel the MoD to address the situation.

A spokesman for the local authority said that they were “very worried and very concerned” about the emerging situation.  The spokesman said that despite attending a recent meeting, the MoD had not put forward any plans to deal with the contamination.

The council spokesman claimed that the situation has the potential to harm the local area and that the last thing they want is to go down the line of declaring the beach as contaminated land which would put a blight on the town.

To date over four hundred radioactive fragments have been discovered at the bay by Sepa.  Most fragments have had relatively low contamination.  These recent discoveries are the most highly contaminated.  

Sepa have said that there may be more highly contaminated fragments still to be discovered.

Last month it emerged that MoD scientists had refused to analyse samples from the area fearing it could lead to cancer.