Scotland could become unable to respond quickly to nuclear emergencies if staff cuts go ahead at a radiation monitoring station, a source claims.
The Glasgow-based Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE) is the only facility capable of detecting and responding to radiation threats in Scotland.
It was the first laboratory in the UK to detect trace amounts of radioactive fallout following the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.
The monitoring station is funded by Public Health England, an agency within the UK’s Department of Health.
The former Head of Department at CRCE, Ron Wheelton, warned that proposed staff reductions would hamper Scotland’s ability to respond to a nuclear emergency.
Wheelton told the BBC: “Staff have been told Public Health England proposes to ‘disestablish’ 11 posts in the Scottish laboratory to cut costs.”
The warning over staff cuts comes a month after a fire at Scotland’s Dounreay nuclear plant resulted in the release of radiation into the atmosphere.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) made clear its intention to remove nuclear power and weapons from Scotland in the run up to the independence referendum in September.
With the SNP’s popularity growing in Scotland, the fallout from this timely caution may be felt most in the run up to the general election next May.
Read more at Nuclear warning: Scotland’s radioactive emergency response under threat