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A suspected radioactive particle resulting from historical operations at Dounreay was found during routine monitoring of Sandside Beach On Monday 23 December 2002.

The particle was removed from the beach and taken to the site for analysis.  Regulatory and other interested parties have been informed.

A total now of 22 particles have been found on the beach since 1984. The particles are small specks of irradiated fuel, similar in size to a grain of sand.

UKAEA carries out a comprehensive and systematic programme of beach monitoring agreed with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Sandside Beach is surveyed every month for the presence of metallic particles. This normally takes about 12 days to complete. In addition, the strandline (the mark of the most recent high tide) is also monitored regularly. This is in accordance with criteria laid down by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

A number of other beaches used by the public between Thurso and Sandside are monitored up to three times a year. No particles have been found except at Sandside.