SEPA publishes current risk assessment of Dalgety Bay contamination

date07 June 2013

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has released its latest assessment of the radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay.

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The report, which can be viewed online, is one of many that have been made available on SEPA's website over the years to ensure that information is available to those with an interest in the area and is based on current information available to SEPA. Copies of this report were made available last week to the Dalgety Bay Forum and have been distributed to other agencies for their views. Where new information is available SEPA will update the report accordingly.

The current risk assessment concludes that some areas of the foreshore at Dalgety Bay would meet the relevant criteria for designation as Radioactive Contaminated Land, if such an action were necessary. It details the hazards posed by the contamination and the associated pathways where people using the area could encounter such sources and the chance of such an encounter. The identification of these areas is an important part of the information required before long term management options can be developed, as it identifies those areas which need to be addressed.

Dr James Gemmill, SEPA's Radioactive Substances Unit Manager, said:

The most likely form of exposure continues to be by skin contact. Radioactive Contaminated Land regulations state that where there are suitable management arrangements in place, designation is not required. The current arrangements at Dalgety Bay, including monitoring and recovery coupled with demarcation of the area where the highest activity sources have been found, reduce the risks to beach users. There are also the signs advising people not to remove items from the beach, to wash their hands and to stay off the demarcated area, and following this advice will reduce the risk further.

"We are now developing our report on which parties may be responsible for the contamination (appropriate persons), which we hope to complete by the end of June. While the risk assessment does show that there are areas of Dalgety Bay that could be designated as Radioactive Contaminated Land, we very much hope that we do not need to take that step and can move to a voluntary solution. It is important to note that whilst these works are ongoing the public continue to be afforded an appropriate level of protection by the management arrangements currently in place."