Reconstructing the abundance of Dounreay hot particles on an adjacent public beach in Northern Scotland


Tyler A, Scott EM, Dale P, Elliott AT, Wilkins BT, Boddy K, Toole J & Cartwright P (2010) Reconstructing the abundance of Dounreay hot particles on an adjacent public beach in Northern Scotland. Science of the Total Environment, 408 (20), pp. 4495-4503.;

Following the discovery of a number of hot particles in the offshore environment of Dounreay on the North Coast of Scotland in 1997, the Dounreay site operator was required to introduce rapid and extensive beach monitoring. Since the introduction of vehicular based beach monitoring in 1999 there have been two further generations of beach monitoring equipment, developed to satisfy regulatory requirements for particle detection and in response to the recommendations of the Dounreay Particles Advisory Group (DPAG). This paper reports the results of DPAG's review of beach monitoring capabilities, evaluating the factors influencing detection capability, assessing the likely monthly particle abundance and whether there has been any real change in particle arrivals with time. The incorporation of real time kinematic GPS has enabled changes in beach elevation to be mapped, and thus allowed the assessment of whether particles detected have recently arrived or may have been buried undisturbed for extended periods of time. The results focus on Sandside Beach from which, between 1984 and December 2009, 150 particles have been recovered. This is by far the largest number of particles found on a Caithness Beach with the exception of the Foreshore of the Dounreay site. The results suggested that there is no evidence for a change in the rate of particle arrivals and DPAG estimated that there is a 1 in 20 million chance of encountering a relevant particle via contact with the skin on Sandside Beach.

Dounreay; Caithness; Hot particles; Beaches; Accretion; Monitoring; Health effects

Science of the Total Environment: Volume 408, Issue 20

Publication date15/09/2010
Publication date online02/07/2010
Publisher URL…0048969710005942