EC to probe DU pollution

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The Galloway News (Scotland), April 15, 2004

THE POSSIBILITY of radioactive pollution from depleted uranium shells fired into the Solway is to be investigated by the European Commission.

SNP Shadow Minister for Europe Neil MacCormick MEP raised concerns in the European Parliament last month and the commission have now agreed to look into possible pollution stemming from the firing from Dundrennan range.

The MEP had claimed in the European Parliament that depleted uranium shells littering the seabed in the Solway Firth breach international law. He said that dumping low-level radioactive waste in the sea was illegal, even if there was no conclusive evidence that it is harmful.

In a letter to Prof. MacCormick, Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom has agreed that this kind of waste is not covered by the regular waste legislation, and has asked her colleague Commissioner de Palacio to look into the matter.

Cmmr de Palacio is responsible for issues related to radioactive protection.

Prof. MacCormick said: I am very pleased the Commission have taken this environmental threat seriously. The MoD is exempt from domestic legislation covering radioactive substances, but it still has to live up to international obligations.”

South of Scotland MSP Alasdair Morgan said: I have always argued that, whether or not DU is proven to be harmful to human life or to the environment, the MoD should not be littering the Solway with their waste. It would be a matter of serious concern were an organisation to dump thousands of any object in the Solway, let alone a substance which the MoD themselves have warned their troops might be harmful.”