Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

More radioactive particles found at Dalgety Bay beach

Dalgety Bay
Image caption The shore at Dalgety Bay has been cordoned off for further investigations

More radioactive particles have been found by an environmental watchdog as officers monitor a beach where highly radioactive material was discovered.

Seventeen radioactive particles have been found since Sepa removed a lump of contaminated metal at Dalgety Bay beach in Fife on Wednesday.

The lump was 10 times more radioactive than material found at the site before.

Dalgety Bay Community Council chairman Colin McPhail has called on the MoD to spend more money to fix the area.

He told the BBC Scotland news website the cost to fix the area was "peanuts" for the MoD.

The latest particles are not as radioactive as the contaminated lump of metal found earlier this week.

Wartime aircraft

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

The discovery was made during work to trace the radioactive source, which is due to be completed over the next two weeks.

The MoD said it would look into the need for remedial work once a report on the area had been published.

Image caption Sepa officers searching for radioactive particles on Dalgety Bay beach

A specialist team removed the material from the beach and took it to a lab for testing on Wednesday.

Warning signs have been put in place and the beach cordoned off.

Mr McPhail said: "I was shocked and gutted when I was told what they had found and that they had closed off the beach.

"The MoD needs to spend more money on remediation of the area so that we don't leave this legacy for the next generation.

"When you see what the MoD spends on bombing Afghanistan, it's peanuts for them.

"It makes you feel bad because the effect on the residents is adverse economically and socially."

He added: "I am also disappointed that this lump has not been found before now, considering all the testing that has been done on the foreshore.

"I wonder what the radioactive particles can do. I am so concerned about this.

"The MoD needs to resolve this once and for all."

Dalgety Bay was the site of a World War II airfield, where many aircraft were dismantled.

The dials in the planes were coated with radioactive radium so they could be read at night.

Statutory powers

It is thought they were incinerated along with other waste, then later tipped on the land and used to help reclaim some of the coastline.

Image caption The material dates back to a time when aircraft were scrapped at the bay

Numerous surveys have been carried out on the beach since radiation was first discovered in 1990.

An MoD spokesman said it had been working with Sepa and the Dalgety Bay Forum to resolve the issues.

"We have supported Sepa's 2011 headland investigation and continue to support Sepa in disposing of any recovered items," he said.

"The work undertaken to date represents MoD's serious commitment to assisting the Dalgety Bay Forum in finding a longer-term strategy for dealing with the radioactive contamination on the foreshore."

He added: "MoD will continue to work with Sepa, the Scottish Executive and the Dalgety Bay Forum to identify the likelihood of residual risks posed and requirement for any remedial action once the details of the most recent Sepa findings are published.

"Should significant risks present themselves in the interim, Sepa has the necessary statutory powers to address these."

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