Thursday, 11 October 2012

Unregulated discharge of Depleted Uranium to the environment


Thank you for your enquiry dated 21 September 2012. This has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000.

You asked for: 

 "letters of agreement from the Environment Agency and its predecessor organisations for  the MOD to discharge of depleted uranium to the environment from Eskmeals and  letters of agreement from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and its predecessor organisations for the MOD to discharge of depleted uranium to the environment from  Kirkcudbright." 

"I am writing to advise you that the information you requested is not held.  There is no licensing as such of the Ministry of Defence's depleted uranium firing activities. The  procedure adopted at the outset of the depleted uranium trials programme, which is still in force, is  for regulatory authorities with Health and Safety and Environmental Protection responsibilities to  be involved in the design of the safety arrangements and to visit the sites as and when they wish."

In the case of Kirkcudbright some 6,907 shells have been fired into the Solway Hansard and  there appears to be no accurate figures for the amount of DU dispersed to the environment at Eskmeals. 

JSP 392 Vol 2,  Leaflet 30  "DEPLETED URANIUM" states that there are so far as the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93)  is concerned there are parallel arrangements, this being the case there should be letters of agreement from the environmental regulators for the discharge of depleted uranium to the environment.  The response to the FOI request shows that none were obtained  and the discharges were unregulated. 

It may be that the MOD felt that it would be pointless to seek letters of agreement form the environmental Regulators as they were unlikely to agree to the discharges and so far as the MOD were concerned it was fortunate that the RSA93 does not apply to the MOD. 

The response to this FOI request clearly shows the MOD failed to meet its own policy to seek letters of agreement from the environmental  Regulators  when discharging substantial quantities of radioactive substances into the environment.  

Extract from JSP 392 Vol 2,  Leaflet 30  "DEPLETED URANIUM" 


"3 In addition to the general requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the 
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the following specific legislation applies 
directly or is applied indirectly through parallel arrangements designed to achieve equivalent standards: 
• Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) (apply directly). 
Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) (parallel arrangements)"



References

MOU between the MOD and Environment Agency


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