Nancekuke, Cornwall.

Nancekuke, Cornwall.

Also know as Portreath, was a centre for the manufacture of the nerve agent Sarin and for brief periods VX agent in the 1950’s. However the centre closed production in the late 1950’s but kept in a state of readiness where production could re-commence, right through until the 1970’s.
The site then became a Ministry of Defence radar station in 1978. Nerve-gas leakages are thought to have been responsible for causing prolonged neurological and psychological problems among Nancekuke’s employees and ex-employees. Between 1955 and 1959, there were 306 cases of respiratory disease during the height of nerve-gas production there. Furthermore, 41 employees out of an estimated 150 died during or after working at Nancekuke, a death rate that was far above the national average then, a fact that the MOD has always disputed.

A considerable amount of weapons were neutralized on the site but a considerable volume was buried on the site itself.
Chemical weapons were dumped into 5 separate areas. One site was an old quarry that was covered over with rubble and old steelwork from the demolished weapons factory (seen here)
After the MoD finally admitted after 30 years of denial that the site did need decontamination an independent company Aspinalls surveyed a partial area of the site and reported back to say that the site did have high levels of PCB’s, a very toxic chemical bi-product and also high levels of CS gas that was developed and manufactured at Nancekuke and was subsequentially used for many years for riot control on the streets of Northern Ireland during the Troubles, to which today the UK is one of the main manufacturers in the world

Work commenced in 2003 to clean up the site under the MoD Nancekuke Remediation Project. It is expected to take approx. 10 years.
The site remains a MoD Radar Station to this day.


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