RAF base may be contaminated by mustard agent

A Royal Air Force airbase located in northern Scotland may be contaminated with mustard agent.

RAF Kinloss, located in Moray, Scotland, is currently being investigated for radioactive contamination, but a land quality assessment obtained by BBC Scotland suggests that it could also be tainted by mustard agent, which can cause severe burns and lead to cancer if released into the atmosphere, according to UKPA.

The report identified the potential mustard agent contamination in 2004, when construction work began on a new pipeline for a water treatment project.

The base is currently scheduled to be the home for an additional 930 personnel from the 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) in the coming months.

“Our investigations to date suggest there is no indication of significant risk to public health or the environment associated with the past storage or disposal of chemical weapon agents in the UK,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman said, UKPA reports. “Work undertaken indicates the sites are suitable for their current use, provided that any management systems, restrictions or procedures remain in place.”

Thomas Docherty MP, a member of the Commons Defense Select Committee, has demanded that the U.K. government issue a statement.

“The MoD has had a culture over seven decades of not sharing information,” Docherty said, UKPA reports. “There’s an arrogance about the MoD that is not new, but it has to be tackled once and for all.”

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