Campaigners call for investigation of former MoD airfield at Aston Down after claims of leukaemia from radiation at site

Campaigners call for investigation of former MoD airfield at Aston Down after claims of leukaemia from radiation at site

Hangar 41 at Aston Down - one of the two buildings used to store artefacts bought back from nuclear testing in the South Pacific during the 1950s

Keith Turley, 66, believes that he may have contracted leukaemia after breathing in contaminated dust while working at Aston Down

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Reporter

A FULL investigation of the former MoD airfield at Aston Down is being demanded after it emerged that two former workers have contracted a rare form of leukaemia.


Two hangars were used to store artefacts brought back from Britain's nuclear testing programme in the South Pacific during the 1950s.
 

This was confirmed in the results of a Land Quality Assessment report released in 2005.
At the time, the MoD confirmed that parts of the site, now owned by Leda Properties, were contaminated with low level radiation but nothing which could be considered 'remotely serious'.


Now the family of Ernest Jones - who worked at the airfield in the 1960s - have taken legal action against the MoD.


Mr Jones died in 1991 after contracting multiple-myeloma Ð a cancer associated with exposure to ionising radiation.
 

More recently Keith Turley - who redecorated one of the buildings at the site in 2002 - has been diagnosed with the same disease.


Campaigners believe harmful radiation may still be present at the site because only one type of survey, focussing on gamma radiation, was undertaken.


Members of the Aston Down Action Group have brought the case of Keith Turley to Stroud District Council's attention and are demanding a full investigation of the site.


Campaigner Sally Morgan, who lives half-a-mile from Aston Down, said: "Alpha and beta radiation is highly toxic if ingested and is not as easily detectable as gamma radiation.


"There is no documentary evidence to show the artefacts ever left Aston Down so there is a possibility that they have been disposed of on site.
 

"Too many times over the years we have kept quiet and left it to the authorities but proper testing needs to take place."


SDC has confirmed that its environmental health team has been reviewing previously submitted reports concerning the presence of radioactive materials.


A spokesman said: "The reports do not directly refer to the monitoring of alpha and beta radiation.


"To ensure that we have the best advice and appropriate action is taken, we are referring the matter to the Health Protection Agency as the experts on radiological matters."

 

 

IN response to claims of radiation at Aston Down, Leda Properties released this statement.


"We have been advised that although the correct type of gamma surveys would be appropriate for these materials, alpha and beta surveys were, in fact, undertaken in 1990 in any case.


"The results proved that there was no residual contamination in the buildings from any test materials.
 

"The council do have the reports relating to alpha and beta surveys and are reviewing them.


"We are supportive of the approach of the council in seeking the HPA to review all the reports to date."

 

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