Nuclear Shutdown Cash Boost For School Skills
24th March 2011
Cash from the closure of the fast reactor site at Dounreay is set to breed a new generation of engineers and scientists in the Scottish Highlands.
The money from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will fund half the cost of a £50,000 project to increase the number of school-leavers skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths.
It's hoped they will enter emerging new industries such as the marine energy sector that can fill the gap left by the closure of the biggest employer in the north Highlands.
The two-year project is being run by the Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and involves secondary schools in Wick, Thurso, Bettyhill and Golspie.
A part-time co-ordinator is being recruited to develop new materials for the curriculum and business and work experience placements for both teachers and students. The Highland Council will provide office accommodation and management support to the co-ordinator.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, the NDA's site closure contractor, is among the companies actively supporting the project.
The company's socio-economic manager Ken Nicol said: "We've worked closely with the NDA and the STEM North of Scotland team to provide 50 per cent of the cost of this project over the next two years.
"It's one of several education and skills initiatives we are supporting to assist the area adjust to the loss of one major industry and grasp the opportunities now emerging in another, the marine energy sector around the Pentland Firth. Therefore we need to ensure that the young people are appropriately skilled for employment in this new sector."
CNSRP Programme Manager Eann Sinclair welcomed the launch of the programme of work: "The CNSRP is all about the added value brought by working in partnership, and this project is a great example of organisations getting together to direct their resources to priority projects."
The removal of trapped fuel elements from the Dounreay Fast Reactor moved a step closer with the successful trial of bespoke equipment to lift off the top plate. Decommissioning the 50-year-old experimental reactor is one of the most technically challenging projects in the NDA estate.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the public body that owns Dounreay and funds its clean up, has published its annual business plan, setting out key tasks for the site licence company DSRL to deliver in the next 12 months. These include: - Decontamination of Prototype Fast Reactor pond to meet regulatory requirements - Completion of construction of new fuel characterisation facilities - Material Test Reactor raffinate immobilisation complete - Continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental performance.
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate has measured that over 21% of its spend is with SMEs. This equates to over Â£330 million spent out of our total annual supply chain spend of Â£1.7 billion.
A NEW partnership agreement has been signed to develop and deliver training required at the Dounreay site during decommissioning work and help staff gain the qualifications they need to transfer to other employment sectors as the site closure progresses. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), responsible for the clean-up and demolition of Britain's former centre of fast reactor research and development, has established a memorandum of understanding with North Highland College UHI and the University of the Highlands and Islands to help close collaboration working and academic links across further and higher education and the nuclear industry.
The regeneration of Wick will be given another boost if the planning committee on 24th March 2015 as expected approve the building of a new Archive Centre for Nuclear records in the UK. The Highland council archive centre currently based at Wick library will also relocate to the new building where it will occupy a small part of it.
Consultation began on 8th December 2014 on the Draft Business Plan 2015 to 2018 that sets out the key objectives and plans for delivering the NDA priorities over the next three years. The total planned expenditure for 2015/16 is Â£3.31 billion, of which Â£2.09 billion will be funded by UK government and Â£1.22 billion by income from commercial operations.
Public consultation continues on NDA's plan for a nuclear archive at Wick in Scotland. It will house over 70 years' worth of historic information from across UK's civil nuclear industry.
Last week saw the last of the Dounreay Materials Testing Reactor (DMTR) control room panels shipped off site and transferred to their new home in local five-star visitor attraction Caithness Horizons. The control room panels and control desk have been donated to Caithness Horizons and reconstructed at the museum to form the basis of a new permanent exhibition representing Dounreay's significant part in Scotland's industrial heritage.
Pre-qualification to find a contractor to build a new national nuclear archive in Wick has commenced, it has been announced. The total cost of the new archive is in the region of Â£17 million.
Almost 800 delegates have already signed up to attend the NDA estate's 2014 event for suppliers in November - but there is still room for several hundred more visitors. The exhibition hall meanwhile is approaching full capacity, providing delegates with the opportunity to meet with 260 companies from across the supply chain.
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