I REFER to recent press reports in the national and local Caithness press referring to new high numbers of “harmful” radioactive particles found on the Dounreay shoreline and Sandside beach which suggested they were related to leaks between 1958 and 1984, with 73% of the particles described as “significant” and 15 particles found between February and March 2022.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), which is responsible for decommissioning the site, said it was closely monitoring the situation and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) stated “we are content that that the monitoring and retrieval programme in place continues to provide appropriate protection for the public.”

DSRL stated “the foreshore is not used by the general public” – this is not a reassurance, as nuclear radiation has no boundaries.

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Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT) is represented on the Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) and has regularly asked for information about the monitoring being carried out and the results. We have been told that information will be made available when the monitoring report is provided by an independent body.

Neither the Dounreay Stakeholder Group meeting on March 22 or the Site Restoration Sub Group meeting on October 19 were informed of these findings of concern.

Given that this information has only been made available through press reports to date, HANT want the following to be implemented :

i) Regular up-to-date reports provided to the DSG and by press releases to the local press on the monitoring results so that the DSG can provide this information to organisations represented by members and the general public will be informed by the local press. Assuming that the results of the monitoring can demonstrate that there is no danger to the public, this will provide reassurance to everyone living in the area around Dounreay.

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ii) That the Dounreay “clean up” reports provided by DSRL to the Particles Retrieval Advisory Group (Dounreay PRAG) be provided to the DSG and local press. An online search found the latest information from the PRAG online being from 2016, and this is totally unacceptable.

iii) That a presentation be made to the DSG by the outside body carrying out the monitoring to describe its methodology and how regularly it is carried out – again to provide local reassurance.

HANT looks forward to the immediate implementation of these proposals and will be monitoring this issue closely over the next months.

Tor Justad
Chairperson, Highlands Against Nuclear Transport

THE NHS should be seen as one major hallmark of a democratic, egalitarian society (Tories accused of deliberate running down of the NHS, Nov 14).

Do not forget, at the end of the Second World War the Tory party, led by Winston Churchill, voted against setting up a health service. Their mindset may not have changed.

By sleight of political hand, the gentle move towards setting up a personal-insurance-led national health scheme might prove music to the ears of “the big money boys”. They could say, “we must make our party donations pay.” What’s the word for such arrangements?

Iain R Thomson

BY just blaming the Tories for the beginning of the downfall of our National Health Service, we have maybe forgotten their partners in crime, who were the Liberal Democrats!

Bob Harper