BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 17:19 GMT
Radioactivity tests at Fife beach
Dalgety Bay
Radioactive material was found on a Dalgety Bay beach
Material from a Fife beach is to be removed to check for radioactivity.

The contamination at Dalgety Bay is believed to come from the luminous dials of wartime aircraft thought to have been dumped there after the war.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has agreed to spend 50,000 to find out the extent of contamination and whether it presents a health risk.

Sepa said more radioactive items were being detected at the Fife headland than at Sandside Beach near Dounreay.

More than 50 particles have been found on the Sandside Beach, near the Caithness nuclear plant, during monitoring of the area.

The point of this next piece of monitoring is to take the material away and find out just how dangerous it is
Louise Batchelor
BBC Scotland environment correspondent

Sepa said it was a different kind of radioactivity which had been found in Fife.

It is planning to carry out a new assessment of the health risk.

BBC Scotland environment correspondent Louise Batchelor said Sepa were worried about radium from the illuminated dials of wartime aircraft incinerated around the 1950s.

She said: "When they did some monitoring here last year they found 90 radioactive items, clearly far more than have been found at Sandside Beach near Dounreay.

"Some are more active than others - the point of this next piece of monitoring is to take the material away and find out just how dangerous it is and whether or not it is fine enough to be swallowed or inhaled.

Health advice

"It could give you a skin burn if you held a piece of this clinker for a long time, for many hours, but it could be quite dangerous if you swallowed it or breathed it in and that's what they want to find out about."

Meanwhile, NHS Fife moved to reassure people that the risks were very low.

It said there was no need to restrict access, but advised anyone handling material from the beach to wash their hands afterwards.

Fife Council's east area manager Roy Stewart said: "We welcome the proposals following today's meeting which are a positive step forward for the area and are pleased Sepa are taking the initiative on this issue.

"Fife Council has a duty of care both to the local community and visitors to the area."

Mr Stewart added that proposals including the installation of warning signs would be discussed at a community council meeting on Wednesday.

Watch locals give their views on the discovery

Dounreay particle plans outlined
08 Jan 06 |  Scotland
'Nuclear particle' find on beach
26 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Call to shut 'contaminated' beach
10 Apr 03 |  Scotland
More Dounreay particles found
28 Feb 03 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific