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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 06:31 GMT
Court date over beach radiation
Dounreay
Particles have been found on nearby Sandside Beach
A date has been set for the first private legal action in Scotland to focus on off-site contamination from a nuclear plant.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is being sued over the alleged contamination of Sandside Beach, in Caithness.

The action alleges that the operators of the Dounreay nuclear plant failed to perform their statutory duty to detect and remove all the pollution which has washed up on the public beach.

Dounreay sign
Twenty one particles have been found on the beach
The UKAEA monitors the sands on a monthly basis.

But beach owner Geoffrey Minter, who is raising the court action, said it was not enough.

He claimed that 21 particles found to date represent less than one per cent of the contamination present.

The case will be heard at the Court of Session on 11 February next year.

Dounreay said it would be making a vigorous response to the issues raised by the petition.

Grain of sand

Monitoring first started at Sandside Beach in 1983.

The radioactive particles, which are the size of a grain of sand, are believed to have come from Dounreay - although the exact source has never been identified.

Previously, a group representing The Commission on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment said the level of monitoring currently taking place on the beach was satisfactory.

The group sought to allay public health fears, but agreed that further research into sand movement may be needed.

See also:

13 Nov 02 | Scotland
11 Oct 01 | Scotland
28 Jan 00 | Scotland
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