Deadly radioactive material found on Suffolk beach

deadle radiation

 
June 18, 2016 – In January the whole town of Suffolk was to get anti-radiation pills as part of N-plant safety plan.

Did they know something then that government is just now telling the people?

A popular stretch of the English seaside is at the center of a nuclear leak drama after traces of deadly radioactive materials were found on the beach.

Southwold on the Suffolk coast is nicknamed Hampstead-on-Sea due to all the celebrities who flock there for their holidays, often buying second homes in the area.

It is feared that the radioactive material detected on the beach may be linked to the Sizewell A nuclear plant which is located along the Suffolk coastline and is in the process of being decommissioned at a cost of £1.2 billion after shutting down ten years ago.

radiation zone

Southwold is popular with holidaymakers – the town has less than 2,000 residents in the winter but this swells to almost 10,000 in the summer

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But there are fears that the detected radioactive material may be linked to the Sizewell A nuclear plant which is located along the Suffolk coastline

The official emergency planning zone around the Sizewell site in January covers a radius of just 2.4 kilometres, an area with a total population of just 600 people and including only a small part of Leiston.

A four-kilometre emergency zone around Sizewell would cover the whole of Leiston and much of Aldringham and Thorpeness, an area with a total population of 6,500 – people who would get priority attention in the event of a major nuclear accident.

All those living or working within the enlarged zone would be routinely issued in advance with potassium iodate pills which, if swallowed following a release of radioactivity, can help limit the dangerous absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.

Schools in Leiston, which take children from a wide rural area, would also be given standby supplies of the pills.

beach

A further proposal is the designation of an extended “precautionary” zone over a radius of 15km, within which efforts would be made to increase awareness of emergency arrangements among the 32,000 population.

The aim in any major emergency would be to – within 12-18 hours – give advice to people in this outer zone on whether to evacuate or take shelter and to distribute potassium iodate pills.

The 15km “precautionary” zone would cover the towns of Saxmundham. Aldeburgh and Southwold and more than a dozen villages, including Dunwich and Walberswick.

Other proposals include the identification of evacuation centers in the outer, precautionary zone, especially for vulnerable groups such as youngsters at schools and playgroups and care home residents.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum is also proposing to build-up a database of information about the possible implications of an accident impact extending to a 30km zone.

Celebrities including Chris Evans, David Tennant, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Palin, Griff Rhys-Jones and Stephen Fry are all regular visitors to the beach. While detective writer PD James, her friend Ruth Rendell, Butterflies actor Geoffrey Palmer and broadcaster Libby Purves have all bought homes in the area.

Southwold is the second Suffolk beach to be hit by radioactive contamination in two months.

In April, scientists monitoring the area around Sizewell revealed that a ‘small amount’ of a particularly dangerous and ‘unusual’ radioactive isotope had been found at Aldeburgh, 18 miles from Southwold.

The Sizewell plant is on the coast between the two resorts. The Environment Agency insisted today that there are ‘no safety or environmental concerns and no risk to members of the public’.

Revealing the latest alert, spokesman Stuart Parr said that Cesium – a metal used in medical applications, industrial gauges, and hydrology, and said to be ‘mildly toxic’ – had been found at Southwold.

‘It was a very small amount and could be to do with tide patterns,’ he said.

Investigations are taking place to find out the source of the radiation leak.

Sizewell A has been examining the Strontium-90, produced by nuclear fission, found at Aldeburgh beach, one of five beaches monitored in the area.

Extra samples have been taken along the shoreline and Mr Parr said: ‘We are continuing to engage with the operator in this investigation.

‘The results from the analysis of these additional samples are not yet available.

‘It can take many weeks for Strontium-90 to be analyzed due to the complexity of the analytical technique, which needs to be done in a laboratory.

‘A sample taken from Aldeburgh beach earlier this year has been sent to two laboratories for comparison.

‘Differences in working practices in different laboratories can cause subtle differences in analytical results which become important when working with such low concentrations of Sr-90 in these samples.

‘Once all the data has been received and analyzed a full report will be made by Sizewell A.

‘It is important to note that these results are unusual, the levels of radioactivity detected are extremely low and do not represent a hazard to anyone using the beach.’

Sizewell A power station shut down on December 31, 2006, with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority placing the contracts at a budgeted cost of £1.2billion.

There are actually two Sizewell nuclear power stations, both near the small fishing village of Sizewell between Aldeburgh and Southwold.

Sizewell A, with two magnox reactors, is being decommissioned, while Sizewell B has a single pressurised water reactor and is the UK’s newest nuclear power station. A third power station is planned.
 
Credit dailymail.co.uk, eadt.co.uk

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