Guernsey

Alderney Hurd Deep radioactive waste 'not dangerous'

  • 18 April 2013
  • From the section Guernsey
Radioactive barrel in the English Channel
Image caption As well as radioactive waste munitions were dumped after both world wars and up until the 1970s

Radioactive waste dumped in the Hurd Deep, off Alderney, is not dangerous, according to Guernsey's environmental health unit.

Thousands of barrels of low level radioactive waste were dumped in the trench in the 1950s and 1960s.

French and German environmentalists have called for their removal after reports from a German media company.

Tobin Cook, deputy environmental health officer, said the material was carefully monitored.

He said: "All of the recent readings have shown there isn't any detrimental effect.

"In the event there was ever a problem we can obviously take the reasonable precautions and let the public know accordingly."

Not weapons grade

Mr Cook said: "It's monitored on an annual basis but samples are taken throughout the year.

"We take samples across Guernsey, in Alderney, and around the area highlighted in this instance.

"We take samples of seawater, of sediment... there's also samples taken of wet fish, shellfish and seaweed so it's a very comprehensive programme."

He added: "This is generally very low grade material, it's associated with hospital and similar type instances, we're not talking weapons grade type it's very low risk material."

Mr Cook added that any action, such as the removal of the barrels from the seabed, needed to be based on evidence there was a problem.

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