Saturday 15 March 2008 / News
Earthworms were pushed into the firing line last week after a resumption of the testing of DEPLETED URURANIUM shells at Dundrennan.
Significant levels of radioactive uranium isotopes were found in the flesh of worms at the Ministry of Defence’s DUMFRIES weapons range last year. Despite concerns from environmentalists and the international community, the MoD last week started a series of tests of depleted uranium (DU) shells, supposed “safety checks”.
A report published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring found that worms in the Dumfries testing ground had significant traces of poisonous uranium isotopes in their bodies.
Worms are a crucial part of the ecosystem, aerating the soil and aiding the nutrient uptake of plants. If they are contaminated, it suggests the wider environment is tainted. The report said:
“Many of the soil samples from the Dundrennan Firing Range had uranium concentrations and isotopic signatures indicative of contamination with DU. Furthermore, plants and earthworms collected from above and within contaminated soils respectively also had uranium isotopic signatures strongly influenced by DU, indicating that DU was indeed assimilated into biological tissues.”
More than 6000 DU shells have been fired into the Solway Firth at Dundrennan, amounting to more than 20 tons of nuclear waste. The tests have been linked to increased rates of cancer and leukaemia in the area.
Opposition to their use is hardening, after a vote at the United Nations General Assembly, won by 136 states to five, required states to submit files on the health implications of DU. Britain was one of the states to vote against it.
The Scottish government criticised the new tests. An SNP spokeswoman said: “We want to ask the secretary of state for defence about the UK’s position with regard to these international developments. Although we don’t have any powers over defence policy, we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of the people and service personnel of Scotland.”
Depleted uranium is used to make hard tips for armour-piercing rounds. When they explode, the uranium turns into a fine powder which is carried on the wind for miles around. In Iraq and Kosovo, the use of the shells has been blamed for horrific birth defects as well as being implicated in causing Gulf war syndrome.
Robin Harper, Scottish Green Party MSP, said: “There is no safe place to test these shells, and there is no appropriate battlefield to use them on either. The MoD should commit to the ban requested by the European parliament.”
The MoD insisted the tests would be safe. It said: “Comprehensive environmental monitoring programmes involving air, water and soil sampling have been in place at and around Kirkcudbright since the beginning of the DU munitions trials. The findings continue to show DU does not pose a significant risk to the environment or to members of the public or site personnel.”
Got your attention yet?
13 MAR 2013
MILITARY bosses dodged an international ban by saying the 30 tons of radioactive waste was “placed” rather than “dumped” off the beach in Kirkcudbrightshire.
THE MoD have used a legal loophole to fire thousands of depleted uranium shells into ?Scottish waters.
Military bosses dodged an international ban by saying the 30 tons of radioactive waste was “placed” rather than “dumped” off the beach in Kirkcudbrightshire.
Outraged campaigners yesterday called on them to retrieve the toxic waste.
Aneaka Kellay, from the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, said: “The Scottish public will struggle to understand how the MoD thought they could evade their legal and moral responsibility not to pollute the sea by calling this a ‘placement’. However they name their firing programme, the fact remains they have purposefully released nuclear waste into the Solway Firth.”
The toxic rounds end up in the water when tanks at a military range at Dundrennan fire shells at canvas targets on the cliffs.
Minutes of secret MoD meetings released after a Freedom of Information request show an official raised concerns in 2004 that the practice could breach the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
He was told the MoD’s interpretation was that “the projectiles were placements not dumping”. The convention states dumping doesn’t include “placement of matter for a purpose other than the mere disposal thereof”.
Depleted uranium has been linked to increases in cancers and birth defects in Iraq.
Minutes show the MoD have fired more than 6700 of the toxic shells into the Solway Firth over the last 30 years.
Labour MP Katy Clark yesterday said: “The legal basis on which the test-firing has occurred is open to serious questioning.”
But the MoD said: “All testing is in accordance with procedures agreed with the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.”
The Scottish Government said they were strongly opposed to the testing of the shells in Scotland.
7 JAN 2015
NUCLEAR waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast radioactive.
RADIATION has been found in food 80 miles across the border from a Cumbrian nuclear-plant a report has revealed.
Nuclear waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast slightly radioactive.
And fish-fans in Dumfriesshire have the highest exposure to nuclear radiation of anyone north of the Border.
Despite Sellafield nuclear station being situated 80 miles away, the new report reveals that the nuclear power station is still having an impact on Scotland, reports the Daily Mail.
And although the levels are within safe EU limits, Sellafield and Scottish nuclear power stations have infiltrated the food chain here.
Traces of radiation were found in fruit, potatoes and vegetables near to Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, in the far north-east of Scotland .
Whilst in Chapelcross, in Dumfriesshire, nuclear radiation has made its way into the milk.
Where as at Faslane, near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, the destination of Britain’s nuclear submarines where liquid radioactive waste is discharged into the Gareloch,
beef has been revealed to contain a small amount of radiation
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