Radioactive particle found on beach

Click to follow
The Independent Online

More radioactivity has been found on a public beach near Scotland's Dounreay nuclear plant.

More radioactivity has been found on a public beach near Scotland's Dounreay nuclear plant.

A spokesman for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) said a radioactive particle had been discovered yesterday on Sandside beach in Caithness, and taken to the site for analysis. The particle is the 12th to have appeared on the beach since 1983, when investigations into the source of the radiation began.

UKAEA stressed the risk to the public was low, adding that the plant, which is scheduled to close in 2004, was continually monitored for radioactivity.

Initial investigations indicate the particle is a speck of irradiated metal, the size of a grain of sand, similar to 11 other particles that were the product of operations at the plant in the Sixties and early Seventies. The spokesman said: "Radioactive particles have been found on the enclosed foreshore at Dounreay at the rate of about one per month since 1983. UKAEA takes the incidence of particles very seriously."

Kevin Dunion, the Scottish director of Friends of the Earth, called for Sandside beach to be closed to the public. "This is rapidly becoming a farce. Month after month these particles are turning up on this beach and it really is about time UKAEA were relieved of their duties with regard to this plant, because their progress to date leaves a lot to be desired.

"Although the risk to the public is minimal, these are deadly particles and we should be minimising the risk."

The discovery of the particle is the latest in a string of setbacks for UKAEA, which was fined £101,000 earlier this year for contaminating workers with more than the maximum permitted dose of radiation.

Comments