Friday, May 22, 2009
"SEPA defends radiation testing
THE SCOTTISH Environment Protection Agency has defended the need for radiation testing at Dalgety Bay beach, following claims the contamination found there could be natural.
Monitoring has been carried out on the foreshore for several years and it is widely accepted the heightened radium levels come from the remains of aircraft dials burnt and emptied out after the war.
However, pro-nuclear campaigner Neil Craig (55) believes the paint blamed for the problem is water-soluble and would have dissolved over time.
He said, “SEPA are still maintaining this claim to have tested such sub-microscopic particles and proven them to be paint containing radium.
“It seems like kicking an argument when it is down to mention that the original radium paint was water- soluble, so that even if a fraction of a gram had been there 64 years ago it would be long gone, Scotland not having a desert climate.
“In any case, the fact is that the level of radiation is so much lower than background radiation elsewhere in Scotland.
“Yet SEPA are allowed to spend probable millions on such pointless nonsense.
“This is indicative of the way false fears have been used, worldwide, for bureaucratic eco-empire building.”
Radium-based luminescent paint was typically made by mixing a radium salt, zinc sulphide and a carrier material such as varnish or lacquer.
SEPA claim test results and circumstantial evidence point to the radiation being man-made and the solubility of the paint could have been altered during burning.
A spokesperson said, “The radionuclide analysis of particles at Dalgety Bay showed that they contained radium and its associated daughters.
“The lack of high concentrations of the higher members of the uranium-238 series is consistent with the radium being of man made origin.
“It is possible that the action of burning of luminised dials can produce a diverse range of chemical forms, each of which has a differing potential for absorption and uptake by man.
“This change and resultant variability in the chemical composition caused by burning also affects the solubility, and this could be a reason why the residues of the radium are still being detected after all this time.”
Over the years many items have been recovered from the beach, including dials and a vial of active material.
"Small particles or flakes found there are similar to those described by a former employee who worked where the instruments were made.
In March the MoD submitted its action plan to the SEPA after a survey found the radiation could provide a dose higher than safe limits.
It was agreed to have additional monitoring and clearer warning signs.
Plans to cover part of the beach with a protective membrane were submitted to Fife Council by the Defence Estates department this week.
The blanket will be used for a programme of identification and removal, to establish where particles are coming from."
From yesterday's courier. Courier is here though you would have to use the search facility to find the article.
I mentioned a few days ago that I had been phoned up by their reporter. I am pleased with this article in the middle of page 9. They have given a fair shake to both sides & I think my side comes off ahead but not on a knockout. However SEPA have made a serious admission which perhaps makes a knockout possible & i am sending a letter for publication in the Courier on that (they are obviously entitled to 1st publication).
Rather pleased to be called a pro-nuclear campaigner a term which appears to have been used online only 7 other times. "Anti-nuclear campaigner" having been used 4,860 times. It strikes me that it is much easier to be an anti campaigner than a pro one but that the latter is, by definition, more constructive.