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Caithness News Bulletins January 2004
SUBMARINE BERTHS IN LOCH EWE AND BROADFORD BAY 8 January 04
Two public meetings are being held later this month in the Highlands to explain the health and safety reasons for the decision to pre-distribute stable iodine tablets to occupied premises within a two kilometre radius of the Ministry of Defence nuclear submarine moorings in Loch Ewe, West Ross, and Broadford Bay, Skye.
The pre-distribution of tablets has already been introduced near the nuclear establishment RNTE Vulcan on the Dounreay site in Caithness, as well as at the Torness Power Station, East Lothian, and the decision to follow these examples of good practice in West Ross and Skye results from a recent risk assessment, which requires NHS Highland and The Highland Council to have in place appropriate plans and counter-measures to offset any potential hazard at the moorings.
The Emergency Planning Department of Highland Council have confirmed that in Caithness over 600 people have had stable iodine tablets distributed mainly in the Reay area but also to farms and houses and the local primary school and Achvarasdal Home for the Elderly.
Previous plans assumed that the tablets could be rapidly distributed to all residents within the two kilometre zone following the release of any hazardous radiation. However, changes to Health and Safety legislation and a recent review of procedures has highlighted that it will not be possible to rely on police, health or council employees or volunteers to distribute the tablets within the required timescale.
NHS Highland and The Highland Council
have agreed that the most prudent but effective course of action is to
pre-distribute the tablets as this will ensure access to the tablets for
the majority of people within two
The council wish to stress that there is no increased risk of a nuclear accident at any of the three Highland sites, which have been in use for 20 years. Indeed the council have been reassured by the MoD that the possibility of such an accident occurring let alone having adverse consequences for the local population is extremely unlikely.
The first meeting will take place in the Broadford Hall on Tuesday 20 January and the second in the Aultbea Hall on Thursday 22 January. Both will start at 7 pm.
In attendance to explain the situation and answer questions will be personnel from the MoD, NHS Highland, The Highland Council, Royal Navy and Northern Constabulary.
The Royal Navy will explain what the moorings are and how and why they are used by nuclear submarines for operational and recreational purposes.
NHS Highland will describe how the possible harmful effects of an accidental release of radioactive material can be considerably reduced by taking a stable iodine tablet. The tablets minimise the effects resulting from inhalation of radioactive iodine released into the air and can also help prevent subsequent cancer of the thyroid gland.
The Council and Northern Constabulary will explain their plans for dealing with an emergency at a mooring.
From Monday 12 January 2004, copies of
the emergency plan as well as the risk assessments for the moorings will
be placed in the libraries in Portree, Broadford, Kyle, Ullapool, Gairloch
and Dingwall as well as Council Service Points in both areas. The
information will also be available on
From Monday (12 January), Royal Navy personnel will hand deliver information material, including letters - jointly signed by Dr John Wrench, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, Highland NHS Board, and Arthur McCourt, Chief Executive of The Highland Council - explaining the situation and inviting residents to the public meetings.
These will be delivered to the 1,153 people who live within 2km of the Broadford Bay mooring, to the 393 people who live within 2km of the Loch Ewe Mooring Buoy and the 507 people who live within 2km of the mooring at Aultbea Jetty.
During the week commencing, Monday 26 January, the Royal Navy will return to deliver the stable iodine tablets to each home.
Emergency Planning - Highland Council
Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee - report on MoD radioactive waste practices