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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dalgety Bay - SEPA's Response to Freedom of Information Act Request

 On January 9th I asked for some clarification of previous statements made by SEPA in the previous FoI and today, just shortly after the legal limit of 20 working days, the final part of their answer came in.

  This is what I asked 
Your answer on the first point - what is the theoretical maximum amount of radiation present - implies that the MoD have refused to supply data they must have known. The Mod, however, have said they have co-operated with you. I would therefore like to see a copy of the communication from the MoD refusing this reasonable request - assuming it exists.
I would also like to know what "imprecise" estimate you have been using for all this time and what it was based on?

Since SEPA decline to give even an imprecise estimate of how much effort has been put into this does SEPA accept that the average square mile of land, to a depth of 1 foot, would yield 9 tons or uranium and thorium and 1 gram, vastly more than you have actually found - if SEPA were to put enough effort into searching for it. Obviously much more if it were done in any Aberdeen which is the closest thing SEPA have produced to a control area.
  On the first point SEPA have sent me copies of the information they requested (they made it under the Freedom of Information Act ;-) but redacted (ie censored) the MoD's reply. In theory that would mean we would just have to take their word that the MoD had refused to give information about the amount of radioactive material that could possibly be there, thereby breaking the law. Or not depending on the level of trust readers may have in the integrity of anybody at SEPA.

   Fortunately that is not the case because we know precisely what information SEPA ever asked from the MoD in support of their deeply scientific inquiry into this load of bull. They asked, in a letter dated 21/12/10 "Any information that the MoD may hold on radium contamination at at former MoD site,  Dalgety bay, Fife" "I am particularly interested in historic activities that may have gave rise to the contamination eg activities with radium paint, aircraft stationed that were repaired, salvaged or destroyed on site, waste disposal areas etc."

    This is remarkably late to first be asking such questions considering their "investigation" has been goi8ng on for nearly 2 decades. Moreover it is remarkably vague and generalised request, even for a fishing expedition. I would be ashamed to have gave rise to such an unspecific request. Moreoverer, even within that they have managed to exclude any request for information about the per cent of radium in the paint or amount of paint used so it is clearly a lie to suggest that the MoD have refused to answer that question.

   On the second part of the first paragraph - SEPA having said they could not give me a "precise estimate" of the amount of possible radiation exposure & my request that they give the imprecise estimate they would have had to have to even begin any scientific investigation. They replied "SEPA have not used an imprecise estimate".

   So no actual attempt at a scientific investigation and the use of the qualification "precise" was simply a deliberate attempt of obfuscate the fact that they had not done even the most basic investigation.

   SEPA's answer to the question of whether they accept that normal land contains 9 tonnes of uranium and thorium and 1 gram of radium was
"Several of the fragments of radioactive material "particles" recovered at Dalgety Bay over the previous few years are radium sources with no uranium present ... such sources are not natural"
  Which, since it doesn't even attempt to answer the specific question in the FoI, appears to be a breach of the Act. It can also be taken as a de facto admission that my figure is perfectly correct (which it is) and that they amount of radiation which could possibly have been added is far less than trivial.

   However the most interesting thing is this claim to have, over many years, recovered pure radium. Since it is going out under a legal duty, with plenty of time to consider it, this must be accepted as representing the very highest standard of honesty to which SEPA, or any employee thereof ever aspires. It also appears to be a deliberate lie.

     I am replying to them thus.

Dear SEPA,
                    In your letter on case FOI82465 of 6th Feb you made the claim that, over the "past"few years" you have recovered a number of particles that are "are radium sources with no uranium present".

     This seems strange since SEPA's previously first claimed that you had determined that radioactive particles had been identified not by radium but by chemical tests that proved they were paint and that therefore they were assumed to be manmade radium particle. (Byron Tilly BBC Radio Scotland 2/2/2009) While not wishing to dispute that such claims, maintained ever since by SEPA, represent the absolute pinnacle of honesty to which SEPA aspire several FoI's later it became apparent that no such tests had ever proven any such thing and that it was total lie. Obviously had you had evidence that the particles were radium it would have been redundant to attempt to prove they must be by linking them to paint.

     Later SEPA said "They claim to have found ‘radium and its associated daughters’ mixed together" - Dunfermline Press 11th June 2009 also represents the very highest standard of honesty anybody at SEPA ever aspires to. It is also, of course, a total and deliberate lie since the "daughter elements" of radium are the single element radon, which being a gas could not possible be rock. In any case if you had found pure radium there would be no point in having to claim the lesser target of having found impure radium.

      I therefore must ask you under the FoI for the independent chemical or perhaps simply spectrographic evidence of radium in these particles you claim to have. I will not insist on spectrographic evidence that none of the 9 tonnes of uranium and thorium naturally present had reached these bits of soil, which you claim, though this would be a most remarkable event.

     I must also ask you to say whether you have publicly retracted the claims to have found radioactive paint or the non-existent "daughter" elements whose existence also represents the highest standard of honesty SEPA aspires to.

    I must also ask you whether, after spending an estimated £4 million, you can dispute in any factual way the best (admitedly only, since you haven't even tried) calculation of the maximum possible original radiation exposure here - that any radium lost there could not exceed 1/4 of the radium naturally present in a square mile or 1/36 billionth of all the radioactive material.

      Finally I must ask if SEPA's remit has ever or will ever allow you to claim that any report whatsoever from SEPA ever has or ever will represent a higher standard of honesty than the total dishonesty that would be demonstrated by a failure to produce "daughter elements" of radium in solid form; WW2 era paint in the particles or pure radium particles.

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