Fences around Dalgety Bay’s formerly radioactive foreshore are due to be removed in the near future as three years of clean up works come to an end.
On Wednesday morning, South and West Fife area councillors received an update from the UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – the estate expert for defence – and from Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) about the radiation clean up effort at Dalgety Bay.
“Practical completion for the project has been achieved and signed off by the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD). An event was held by the MOD and SEPA to mark the successful completion of the remediation project,” a report from the DIO said.
However, fencing and barriers have remained in place while SEPA and the MOD await the final close-out survey and a health physics plan from contractors.
Once SEPA receives those reports and discharges the site’s licensing agreement, the remaining fences will be removed.
A spokesperson for SEPA told the committee: “Some of the fencing has been removed around the front of the sailing club building, but the rest requires the close out surveys to be completed and the data received to be analysed and for SEPA to be satisfied that there’s no radiation left that might have been brought up during remediation works. We must be satisfied that it’s safe for the public to access the area.”
Radioactive material was first detected on the foreshore of Dalgety Bay in 1990.
It was believed to come from old wartime aircraft – radium coated instrument panels from military aircraft were incinerated and sent to a landfill near Dalgety Bay at the end of the Second World War.
Private contractor Balfour Beatty has handled the clean-up on behalf of defence chiefs since remediation began in November 2020 – some 30 years after the radiation was first discovered.
Dalgety Bay is thought to be Scotland‘s worst area of radioactive pollution – and a representative from SEPA previously told councillors that approximately 3,500 radioactive particles were removed from the shore over the course of nearly three years.
The works were originally meant to be finished in the autumn of 2022, but the completion date was pushed back until June and then pushed back again until September when the remediation was finally completed.
Balfour Beatty, the MOD’s private contractor in charge of clean up, will operate a programme of monthly monitoring for two years starting in November to keep track of radiation levels and ensure the site is effectively clean and safe for the public.
Following that, if SEPA are satisfied, and are not seeing an increase in the number of radioactive particles on the shoreline, monitoring will revert to SEPA for radiation and management of the headland “rock armour” that was built to prevent erosion and further contamination will revert to the council.”
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