On wednesday The Guardian reported that “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been forced to abandon attempts to block a report by government advisers warning that radioactive contamination of military sites across the UK could pose a risk to public health”.
The report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment was published 6 months ago but UK ministers sat on it after objections from the Ministry of Defence.
The report reveals that Comare is concerned about radium contamination from the second world war at Dalgety Bay in Fife and at least 25 other sites across the UK.
Concern about radioactive pollution from radium prompted warning signs to go up on Dalgety Bay beach – the option of doing nothing was slammed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
“I’m quite shocked and dismayed that one of the options that is still being considered is actually doing nothing – leaving a fence here, or alternatively removing the fence and just putting up a warning sign like the one we’ve got here, forever.
“And they admit that if they do this, there’s still the waste there, there’s still the risk from the waste, there’s still the contamination, there’s still the coastal erosion.
“So, I’ve asked the minister to rule out the option of doing nothing.”
Meanwhile the option of business as usual continues on West Cumbrian beaches. Last week children were encouraged to spend hours digging in contaminated sand as part of Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Beached Art day. Within the mermaids and sandcastles there is a far more dangerous cocktail of radioactive particles including caesium and plutonium. The dangerous cocktail is accumulating as a result of historic discharges and ongoing reprocessing at Sellafield. Despite this the monitoring and retrieval of radioactive particles on West Cumbrian beaches has been scaled back while the warning signs that Radiation Free Lakeland have put up at Seascale, St Bees and other places radioactive particles are being found, are ripped down immediately.
Why is the policy so different? Is it because the radioactive pollution from radium is from obsolete radium dials from World War II aircraft while the cocktail of radioactive pollution on West Cumbrian beaches is from the nuclear industry? The industry providing next generation nuclear military hardware under the guise of ‘electricity’ needs to be protected?
Who is protecting us?