Feeds

Scottish beach in radium contamination probe

Dumped luminous aircraft dials suspected

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Scientists say radioactive contamination on a beach in Scotland's Fife headland probably comes from wartime aircraft luminous dials* which were burned then dumped during the 1950s, the BBC reports. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is stumping up £50,000 to discover the levels of radium contamination and any associated health risk.

Sepa's concerns are not unfounded. The agency said more radioactive items were being detected on Dalgety Bay at the Fife headland than at Sandside Beach near Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. However, since the contamination was first discovered in 1990, an initial investigation in 1995 showed that the "maximum fatal risk per year from inhaling or swallowing a radioactive particle to any user of the area surveyed was negligible and was calculated as clearly less than one in a million".

Nonetheless, concerns remain. The Beeb's Scotland environment correspondent Louise Batchelor reported last week: "When they did some monitoring here last year they found 90 radioactive items, clearly far more than have been found at Sandside Beach near Dounreay. Some are more active than others - the point of this next piece of monitoring is to take the material away and find out just how dangerous it is and whether or not it is fine enough to be swallowed or inhaled.

"It could give you a skin burn if you held a piece of this clinker for a long time, for many hours, but it could be quite dangerous if you swallowed it or breathed it in and that's what they want to find out about."

NHS Fife has also assured people that the risks were minimal, but added that they should wash their hands after handling anything from the beach. Fife Council will on Wednesday discuss installing warning signs, and welcomed Sepa's actions. East area manager Roy Stewart noted: "Fife Council has a duty of care both to the local community and visitors to the area." ®

Related links

The Scottish Office Central Research Unit Assessment of the Implications of Radium Contamination of Dalgety Bay Beach and Foreshore (1995 study - summary).

Bootnote

According to the Scotsman, the material comes from "planes dismantled at Donibristle airbase" - actually a Naval Air Station, close to Dalgety Bay, which closed in 1959.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.