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
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 £330 million spent out of our total annual supply chain spend of £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.
Companies are being invited to attend Dounreay's annual Suppliers Day on February 26. The event will take place at The Weigh Inn in Thurso from 1.00pm.
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 £3.31 billion, of which £2.09 billion will be funded by UK government and £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.
Dounreay's beach monitoring fleet has a new look with the addition of new vehicles - the Metrac H5 all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The H5s are fitted with the same GroundhogTM Evolution monitoring equipment as the current ATVs, so this is a change of looks but not a change of function.
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.
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