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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dalgety Bay - Latest FoI Response - SEPA Flatly Refuse to Answer

On 14th Feb I sent a further FoI to SEPA about their Dalgety Bay claims and on 14th March (4 weeks and a day or 1 day longer than the legally required 20 working days) they replied. Here are my questions and their answers:

Q1 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.

A1 All data on tests carried out on particles recovered by SEPA has been provided on the reports on our website

A2 Daughter elements of Radium 226 have been measured and are therefore not non-existent.

Q3 I must also ask you whether, after spending an estimated £4 million, you can dispute in any factual way the best (admittedly 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.

A3 SEPA have not detailed any costs spent. Therefore this information is excepted under Regulation 10(4)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The text of which is reproduced below.
(4)A Scottish public authority may refuse to make environmental information available to the extent that - (a) it does not hold that information when an applicant's request is received.

Q4 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.

A4 The progeny of Radium has been determined in the laboratory, with the results of these tests being publicly available.This information has been previously supplied in response to past enquiries.
Please refer to

   Not exactly informative. More importantly not, even inexactly, truthful.

  A1 - Obviously does not provide the requested evidence for their claim to have found radium. That is perhaps unsurprising since no such evidence exists so they are lying when they claim to have found it. However SEPA here have not retracted the claim by one inch, despute having been had ample time to consider it.

    This proves that, though it is a deliberate lie, it also represents the very pinnacle of honesty to which anybody in SEPA ever aspires.

  A2 - Is a lie -
"radium-226, which has a half-life of 1601 years and decays into radon gas" -  sonot a series of measurable "daughter elements" as claimed but one, and one which is a noble (non-reactive) gas and thus could not possibly have been found as part of a rock. In any universe in which the most fundamental laws of physics apply SEPA can only be a wholly dishonest organisation. Obviously the necessary evidence of such "rocky" Radon gas never been produced.

  A3 - If this is in any way truthful SEPA have never made any slightest estimate of how much they have spent pushing this fraud. I cannot say for certain that this is a lie but that would be incompatible with an organisation run with the remotest concern for financial responsibility. I would be interested to know if this is in any way abnormal or undesired within the Holyrood government.

  A4 - Doesn't attempt to answer that question. Instead it gives a, dishonest, answer to 1 - to have found radium, by chemical or spetroscopic means. The only reference to radium on the page linked to is to say that there was radium in aircraft dials - something which, as previously proven, could not have added more than 1 36 billionth to the natural radioactives there. I note that, dishonest though they are,
SEPA have not felt it possible to dispute in any way that the radium "threat" is indeed less that one 36 billionth of the natural radioactives.

  To - Its Public Knowledge - FoI commissioners for Scotland

I wish to request a review of SEPA's response to this FoI and indeed to their long string of previous ones. They have simply refused to answer any of the queastions.

They will not say what "independent chemical or perhaps simply spectrographic evidence of radium" they have. If they have none, as I believe, they still have a duty to publicly answer this, by saying that while they have maintained it repeatedly and deliberately it is untrue.

They have refused to produce their evidence of finding the "daughter elements" of radium bound into the rock. This would be particularly egregious, if they have found them, as this would turn the whole of modern physics on its head and it would be highly improper to prevent the world's physiscists knowing it.

They have refused to say whether they are claiming that the radium could be more than 1/4 of the naturally occuring radium or 1 36 billionth of all the radioactive material. They have previously always suggested that this is a serious threat and if they have not retracted that I submit they have a duty to say that they do not accept the only calculation that has been done and why.

They have refused to say whether they have any doubt that their claims represent the pinnacle of honesty to which SEPA ever aspire. The answer to that should be obvious and easy.

I would like a ruling on the principle of whether a government department which has lied once (or lied continiusly) and would be shown to have done so if it answered an FoI is thereby relieved of its duty to answer. I submit that it is not and thatb if the evidence it claimed once (or repeatedly) exists they have a legal duty to acknowledge that it doesn't and that while their claim did not in any way represent less than the normal (or highest) standard of honesty to which they aspire it was a deliberate lie.

I await your response.

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In the answers to question 2 and question 4, and indeed in your own criticisms, the disingenuous nature of these official prevarications is exposed. The fact is that these "advisors" know vitually nothing about Nuclear Physics, so how can we expect an informative answer. I am suggesting that they are not actually deliberately mis-informing out of malice or because of secrecy, but are simply incompetent and desperate to retain their own posts, hence the vacillations.
. . . . . .

A few notes about "Radium Particles" -

Radium (Ra) has no stable or nearly stable isotopes, and thus a standard atomic mass cannot be given. The longest lived, and most common, isotope of radium is 226Ra with a half-life of 1600 years, and the shortest lived has a half-life of less than 1uS. 226Ra occurs in the disintegration chain of 238U, as has been remarked.

The so called "daughter elements" explanation you have been given is purely specious and demonstrates their lack of understanding of the Radium series decay of U238. As you have remarked the sole "daughter" of Radium-226 is Radon-222 Gas, which further decays into isotopes of Polonium, Bismuth, and eventually stable Lead Pb-206 after about 25 Years.

The Full decay series is shown below, with Half-life times. So then as you remark, these official explanations are mostly hokum, since nobody can actually prove where any radiactive particle found on any beach of whatever material really came from, or whether it was "man-made" or natural.

Radium Series Decay of Uranium -
238U (Uranium), 4.468 billion years, alpha decaying to...
234Th (Thorium), 24.10 days, beta decaying to...
234mPa (Protactinium), 1.16 mins, beta decaying to...
234Pa (Protactinium), 6.70 hours, beta decaying to...
234U (Uranium two), 245500 years, alpha decaying to...
230Th (Ionium), 75380 years, alpha decaying to...
226Ra, 1600 years, alpha decaying to...
222Rn, 3.8 days, alpha decaying to...
218Po, 3.10 minutes, alpha decaying to...
214Pb, 26.8 minutes, beta decaying to...
214Bi, 19.9 minutes, beta decaying to...
214Po, 0.1643 ms, alpha decaying to...
210Pb, 22.3 years, beta decaying to...
210Bi, 5.013 days, beta decaying to...
210Po, 138.376 days, alpha decaying to...
206Pb, STABLE.

The idea that "particles" from this series can be found and measured on a beach and then attributed to a particular source has no merit, and is frankly risible.

* U238 (Radium Series) decay data obtained from the Nuffield Foundation
Here's my FOI request:

Mr. Craig:

Please reprint the entire exchange you *censored* that concerned your mendacious claim about David King.

Best Regards,

Skip from ScienceBlogs
@Anonymous (Skip from Scienceblogs ?)

What on Earth are you talking about? David King isn't even mentioned in this article. King is a "suface chemist" in any case and has never commented on radioactive particles so far as I am aware.
A good summary UKIP.I would add that while some radium has been manufactured since, during WW2 ALL the world's radium had been mined from pitchblende etc and was thus natural.

Perhaps part of the question of whether SEPA are lying depends on whether one regards a defence of "I am so ignorant that I have no idea whether what I was saying was true or untrue" as admission of lying. I regard it as such.

Beyond that, however, SEPA have made a number of specific claims & are still maintaining them - that the organisation have found radium; found paint; found the non-existent daughter elements - which simply cannot be put down to ignorance.
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