Radioactive metal found on Scots beach

Babies and toddlers could ingest radium particles

A SCOTTISH beach has been condoned off after a lump of radioactive metal was found on the shore.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency  (SEPA) found the material at Dalgety Bay beach on Saturday and says the beach is giving them “cause for concern”.

The radioactive material was removed yesterday (wed) and experts say it is 10 times more radioactive than any material found at the site previously.

Sepa are now examining the material in a lab.

They plan to meet with the Scottish Government and discuss permanently cordoning off parts of the beach.

Radioactive material was first found on the beach in 1990 and is thought to come from radium-coated instrument panels from military aircraft. The panels were incinerated and used as landfill at the end of World War II.

Since then, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has regularly monitored the area and removed any material they found along with the MoD.

Chief Executive Dr Campbell Gemmell said: “Over the weekend, Sepa scientists continued to investigate an area of the foreshore of Dalgety Bay. Further sources were found.


“An initial reading of activity in one of these sources has given sufficient concern for Sepa to have asked Fife Council to restrict access to the area. On Wednesday, Fife Council cordoned off an area of the foreshore close to the public footpath and temporarily erected further warning signs.

“In the short term, Sepa will continue the current investigation and ensure the removal of any further sources detected.

“It is now urgent that an appropriate long term remediation plan is developed, and Sepa will meet with Scottish Government and the Ministry of Defence to expedite this. This may require Sepa to designate an area of the foreshore at Dalgety Bay as Radioactive Contaminated Land.”

Last week it was revealed that a Sepa report had concluded that  babies or toddlers playing on the beach face a “significant” risk of developing cancer.

They said that the ingestion of “hot particles” from the beach could get radiation doses hundreds of times higher than the maximum permitted in the nuclear industry.

The Sepa study stated that the pollution at Dalgety Bay poses “a significant hazard to health”.


The Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said he would be writing to Secretary of State for Defence  on the issue.
He said: “We will continue to press the Ministry of Defence to resolve the matter and, following the most recent survey work at Dalgety bay, I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Defence today to call for immediate action, and that the MoD meets its responsibilities.

“The Scottish Government has been in constant contact with SEPA over the matter at Dalgety Bay and support SEPA’s action and efforts to date.  “We absolutely must get to the root cause of this repeated contamination of Dalgety Bay, and I want to reassure the local community that we will do everything in  our power to prevent, once and for all, any radioactive sources being a significant hazard to the public.

“In the meantime I am confident that SEPA is taking all necessary action to ensure that these sources of radiation are identified and removed quickly so that they no longer pose any threat.”