Work Begins on Railhead To Support Dounreay Closure
1st April 2012
Construction work is underway on a new railhead to support the closure of the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay.
The facility at Georgemas Junction on the far north rail line will enable fuel belonging to the UK to be returned to national stocks where it can be used to generate electricity.
DRS, the train operator developing the site, believes the development of a railhead in Caithness opens up opportunities for non-nuclear cargo to be moved in and out of the area.
Its executives are meeting business and community leaders to explore other potential markets.
Construction of the new multi-million pound facility will be complete by the summer.
Foreign nuclear fuel has been returned from Dounreay over the past decade.
Now, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is getting ready to return its fuel to UK stocks.
The first of 44 tonnes of breeder material is due to leave Dounreay later this year and will go via the new railhead to Sellafield.
DRS routinely moves nuclear fuel between Sellafield and UK power stations and the Georgemas railhead will extend its network to Caithness for the first time.
A decision on the remainder of the NDA fuel is due in the spring.
It is thought that the new railhead facilities may provide other opportunities for transport of goods in the area.
From DSRL web site
A planning application will be submitted to Highland Council later this year to cover the next phase of planning at the Dounreay site. Planning permission from 2018 to the shutdown of the site, also known as the interim end state, is the third phase of the planning required for the Dounreay decommissioning programme.
The clean-up of the nuclear estate is a key priority for both the Scottish and United Kingdom governments. Dounreay's decommissioning is well established with the site due to reach an interim end state by the early 2030s.
A major upgrade and expansion of Dounreay's Thurso town centre office has been completed. David Flear, Chair of Dounreay Stakeholder Group, officially reopened the building which sits at the entrance to the high street and has been the site's public information office for almost a decade.
A unique new archive, funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has opened its doors to the public for the first time, bringing together historical nuclear records from all over the UK. Speaking today at the Nucleus (Nuclear and Caithness Archive) in Wick, NDA chairman Stephen Henwood, said:Today we see a new chapter in the important role Caithness has played in the UK's nuclear history.
The first block of concrete has been removed from the structure of one of Dounreay's cooling ponds - representing a major first step in demolishing the redundant giant chamber. The pond is one of two concrete pits, six metres deep, which was used to store spent fuel from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR).
More than 30,000 bricks have been removed from three pits within a redundant facility as part of a project to decommission a former effluent treatment plant. A scaffold platform has been constructed to allow operators, wearing full airline suits, access to remove the bricks using small electrically operated hand tools.
Amec Foster Wheeluker has been awarded a contract to design and build a new effluent treatment plant at Dounreay. The agreement signals a landmark move for the Caithness site as the first to incorporate socio-economic commitments following the introduction of a new procurement policy earlier this year.
His Excellency, Mr Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, Mr Yosuki Ishigami from the Economic Section of the Japanese Embassy and Mr Daisuke Matsunaga, Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh visited Dounreay during a two-day visit to the north of Scotland as a guest of Dr Paul Monaghan MP. At Dounreay the group toured the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR), including the reactor hall.
Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a contract to design and build a new effluent treatment plant at Dounreay. The agreement signals a landmark move for the Caithness site as the first to incorporate socio-economic commitments following the introduction of a new procurement policy earlier this year.
Dounreay has said "you're hired" to ten local newcomers who have started their careers at Dounreay this week. This makes it the 61st consecutive year that apprentices have joined the site.
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