from Sunday Herald, 25 February 2001
Faults in the firing of depleted uranium (DU) shells have caused radioactive contamination in breach of safety limits at a military testing range in south west Scotland, according to unpublished Ministry of Defence reports. Instead of plunging into the Solway Firth as they were meant to, up to two dozen shells have hit the ground, generating clouds of toxic DU dust.
An investigation by the Sunday Herald has uncovered a catalogue of alarming blunders at the Dundrennan army firing range near Kirkcudbright, which will fuel growing fears about the safety of testing DU shells there. The Ministry of Defence has lost DU shells on land, and has no idea what has happened to the 28 tonnes of DU that ended up in the sea. One shell has been accidentally brought up in the nets of a fishing boat.
An unprecedented experiment designed to discover the fate of the DU in the sea went disastrously wrong earlier this month (February) when 90 DU samples on the seabed disappeared after severe storms. And, as we reveal on page one, defence ministers have misled the House of Commons on the extent to which the dumping of DU has been regulated by government watchdogs.