The seas around Scotland are one of the remaining sources of relatively accessible Clean Steel.
Since the detonation of the first atomic bomb in 1945, radioactive fallout from such explosions has resulted in contamination of the atmosphere by traces of radioactive elements previously not found there. The process of steelmaking consumes vast quantities of air, leading to the concentration of such trace elements in the final product. Modern, high-sensitivity instrumentation, such as that used for nuclear radiation monitoring, is susceptible to the signal produced even by these trace elements, and requires material free from such contamination for its manufacture.
World War I provided one such source, when the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow on June 21, 1919, to prevent its capture by the British. Fifty-one ships sank with a loss of nine lives, the last casualties of that war. Because the fleet was deliberately scuttled by Rear Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter, rather than sunk in battle, the vessels were not classed as War Graves, permitting their later salvage.
Such recovered material is not re-processed or melted down, which would result in its becoming contaminated by modern atmospheric impurities, but is cut and reshaped to suit its final application.
Such sources are limited, and many of them have been used. As a result, sources such as the U-Boats scuttled during Operation Deadlight can become viable, even if associated with high recovery costs. Although there was announcement in 1995 that the MoD awarded salvage right to these boats, nothing appears to have happened since. Subsequent reports of objections received from Russia and America suggests the boats may never be salvaged.
09 April 1997 ***Here's an interesting story out of the UK: DUBLIN, March 9th: (AFP)
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