Dunfermline Press

Radioactiv­e traces will still be found at beach after clean-up

SEPA warns that particles may still be detected as monitoring period begins

- By Ally McRoberts Reporter amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

THE £15million clean-up of the pollution at Dalgety Bay has finished but they’re still expecting to find radioactiv­e particles at the beach.

The Ministry of Defence held an event in September to mark the “successful completion of the remediatio­n project” and will oversee two years of monitoring to see how effective it’s been.

More than 6,500 radioactiv­e particles - some with such a high reading that they were hazardous to health - were removed and the area declared “absolutely safe” but councillor­s heard it was impossible to get rid of all of the contaminat­ion.

Nina Patton, from the Scottish Environmen­t Protection Agency (SEPA), told the South and West Fife area committee: “There will be monthly monitoring during the next two years by the DIO (Defence Infrastruc­ture Organisati­on) contractor across the whole area, where health and safety allows because of the new rock armour that’s been placed.

“That should start in November and will continue for two years.

“Following that, if SEPA are satisfied that, through that verificati­on monitoring, the remediatio­n works have been successful, in that we’re not seeing an increase in the number of particles on the foreshore, then the monitoring will revert to SEPA for radiation and also the monitoring and management of the rock armour will revert to Fife Council.

“Depending on how many particles are being recovered at the end of that verificati­on period, because obviously during the works there’s been a lot of mobilisati­on of radioactiv­e particles so it’s anticipate­d there still will be some particles in the marine environmen­t that would be re-circulated, but we’re hoping that will drop off in the next two years.

“Depending on that, SEPA will determine what frequency we go out to monitor.”

During the Second World War, and before the dangers of radium were known, it was added to a luminous paint that was used to coat the dials of aircraft to help airmen read the instrument­s at night.

In the 1950s a large number of the planes were broken up and burned at the nearby Donibristl­e Airfield, with the resultant ash and clinker dumped along the shore.

The radioactiv­e contaminat­ion in Dalgety Bay was discovered in 1990 but the beach wasn’t closed off until 2010 when particles with very high readings were found.

Warning signs were also put up - they’ll remain in place for now, along with areas of fencing - while pressure was ramped up on the MoD to take responsibi­lity and pay for the clean-up.

They eventually did so and after numerous false starts and delays, work began in May 2021. It was due to be completed in 2022 but continued into a third year.

At that time David Salmond, programme director for the DIO, which is part of the MoD, told the Press: “I’d be astounded if the works aren’t successful.”

Ms Patton said they needed further documentat­ion from the DIO to satisfy the terms of the permit for the remediatio­n works.

She added: “Some of the fencing has been removed around the front of the sailing club.

“The rest of the fencing requires the close-out survey to be completed and the data received by SEPA and analysed and for us to be satisfied that there’s no radiation left that might have been brought up during the works so it’s safe for the public to access.

“So the fencing will come down once we’re satisfied.”

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 ?? Image: Newsquest ?? NOT QUITE OVER YET: The clean-up of the radioactiv­e pollution at Dalgety Bay has been completed, with two years of monitoring now under way.
Image: Newsquest NOT QUITE OVER YET: The clean-up of the radioactiv­e pollution at Dalgety Bay has been completed, with two years of monitoring now under way.

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