Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dalgety Bay radiation: Diggers to be used in pit testing

Extensive work is under way to determine the source of radioactive particles at a Fife beach.

The radiation at Dalgety Bay is believed to come from radium paint used decades ago on aircraft instruments which were then dumped in the area.

Diggers have been brought in to excavate about 90 pits, which will be dug to a depth of two metres.

Samples will be taken over the next three weeks. The work has been ordered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD agreement to the detailed investigation avoided the Fife beach becoming the first in the UK to be designated radioactive contaminated land.

Radiation was first discovered by accident in the area 20 years ago and concerns have grown with parts of the beach being cordoned off and a fishing ban imposed in the bay earlier this year.

It is hoped this latest work will ascertain the scale of the problem so a plan can be put in place to deal with it.

In June scientists revealed a "significantly radioactive" particle had been found outside the cordoned-off area in which more than 2,000 radioactive objects and particles have been unearthed since October 2011.

Radium from wartime aircraft is thought to have been in landfill which was used when the foreshore was reclaimed.

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