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Radio-active Particles In The Marine Environment

12th July 2006

An independent report on the views of people in Caithness and north Sutherland about radioactive particles in the marine environment has been published.

The report summarises the feedback from more than 400 people who took part in a series of information-gathering events ahead of formal consultation later this year on the options for dealing with the particles.

UKAEA's response to the views has also been published at www.ukaea.org.uk/sites/dounreay_particles_in_the_marine_environment.htm

The consultation was held in January through a series of exhibitions, outreach meetings and questionnaires to ensure the completeness of the long list of options and the Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) criteria for assessing the options. Over 200 people attended the exhibitions, 89 individuals took part in various discussion meetings and 123 feedback questionnaires were submitted. Independent consultants, Entec UK Ltd facilitated the events and produced a report with a number of recommendations. UKAEA has now considered the feedback and the response document sets out how these views will be carried forward in the assessment of the options.

Daren Luscombe, Entec UK Ltd, who facilitated the consultation, said, "A wide range of views were expressed by stakeholders in the consultation. Together with the anticipated issues of human health and safety and environmental impact, stakeholders were concerned about the perception of the area and the need for better and reliable information to enable informed judgements to be made. A number of additional options and criteria by which to evaluate the options were suggested that UKAEA have considered. Using this type of early consultation in the decision-making process will enable UKAEA to understand better the views and priorities of those affected from the start and help stakeholders increase their understanding of this important issue."

Phil Cartwright, UKAEA's Particles and Land Contamination Manager said "This is the first time we have consulted with the public at such an early stage and I am delighted with the response we have received. The feedback has been very constructive and new options and criteria have been identified. The response document sets out how these will be carried forward. We now need to agree and implement a methodology for screening out options which are not feasible and take forward the remaining options for assessment against the criteria. This will be carried out by a Scoring Panel which will include a number of organisations independent of UKAEA, to allow this to be carried out in a clear and transparent manner. We would expect to be in a position to progress with further stakeholder consultation in January 2007 to gain views on the feasible options which will help determine the BPEO."

Bill Fernie, Chairman of the External Particles Consultation Steering Group, which was set up to oversee the transparency of the consultation process said "The Steering Group welcomes the publication of the UKAEA's response and is satisfied that the first part of the consultation has been carried out in a transparent way. The Steering Group believes that this is groundbreaking work involving members of the public at such an early stage and we look forward to being kept abreast of progress and ensuring that UKAEA continue in this vein through the programme of consultation. This is an issue which affects the community as a whole and therefore it is only right that the community is allowed to have their say in how to achieve the best environmental solution to this which is also publicly acceptable. I would like to extend my thanks to the individuals and local groups who assisted us in the process."

 

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