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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 8

23rd July 2007

Photograph of Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 8

GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY BEING CONDUCTED FOR PROPOSED NEW LOW LEVEL WASTE FACILITIES
Site characterisation work for the proposed new low-level waste facilities at Dounreay continues this week with a geophysical survey being conducted on the old runway area to the east of the site. The survey will use techniques such as seismic and ground penetrating radar to build up a picture of the rock and soils underlying the proposed low-level waste facilities site. The information obtained will be used to help develop the Environmental Safety Case for the proposed facilities.

COUNCIL'S NEW TOP TEAM VISITS DOUNREAY
Highland Council's new leadership team visited Dounreay on July 20 to see how Scotland's biggest nuclear clean-up project is changing the face of the north Highlands. Recently-elected convener Councillor Sandy Park was accompanied by the authority's new chief executive Alistair Dodds on a tour of the 2.9 billion project to decommission the fast reactor experiment. They met UKAEA site director Simon Middlemas and discussed ways of closer working between the two organisations as the clean-up moves forward at pace. The council has a key role in planning and economic development and is a lead body in the Caithness Regeneration Partnership set up to oversee the economic transition as decommissioning moves closer to completion. More:
http://www.ukaea.org.uk/sites/Highland_Council_visit.html


UKAEA RESPONDS TO ANALYSIS OF 2007 PARTICLE CONSULTATION
As part of the ongoing consultation on radioactive particles in the environment UKAEA has responded to an independent report on the analysis of the 2007 consultation. Entec UK Ltd provided an analysis of the stakeholder consultation. The next step will be to prepare the preliminary BPEO (Best Practicable Environmental Option) for final consultation in the autumn of this year. To see Entec's report and UKAEA's response see:
http://www.ukaea.org.uk/sites/dounreay_particles_in_the_marine_environment.htm#stage_three

NuSAC VISIT TO DOUNREAY
Three representatives from the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (NuSAC) have visited Dounreay. NuSAC advises the Health and Safety Commission on matters relating to nuclear safety policy and how it is implemented at nuclear installations.

The representatives visited the FCA fuel treatment plants, the new breeder removal facility and PFR, and met site safety reps. As their last visit was three years ago, the representatives commented on the physical changes to the site and were pleased to see improvements in safety. Andrew Clarke, one of the NuSAC representatives, described it as a "step change", adding that he had noted a "clear commitment in the attitude of the staff on site" to safety.

COMARE REPORTS ON BEACH MONITORING EQUIPMENT TRIALS
The Committee On Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment carried out field trials of the beach monitoring equipment at Dunnet at the end of June. The purpose was to see how the monitoring vehicles, which have been improved since the last trials, performed under test conditions on a beach. While the full results are expected to be reported at COMARE's Dounreay Working Group, preliminary results show that the monitoring vehicle performed well under the trial conditions. Prof Alex Elliott, COMARE chairman, recorded his thanks to UKAEA personnel for their co-operation and to the drivers of the monitoring vehicles.

Meanwhile, a third survey of Dunnet beach is now complete and no particles were detected. The scan took place between May and July. Further re-assurance that no particles were present came from the monitoring of 400 bags of rubbish and bigger items from the beach clean which saw over 50 volunteers from the site clean up the beach as part of the Dounreay Environment Week.

Monitoring of Melvich beach started this month and is expected to be complete by the end of July.

TIGHTER CONTROLS TO PREVENT A REPEAT OF INCIDENT
Improvements have been made to the UKAEA's procedures for temporary waste storage following shortcomings identified in an incident in January 2006. The incident resulted in unplanned exposure of staff to radiation and led to UKAEA being fined 15,000 at Wick Sheriff Court on July 12 after pleading guilty to contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Simon Middlemas, Dounreay site director, said: "We accept some mistakes were made in the Marshall Lab at the beginning of last year, resulting in a worker receiving a very minimal plutonium intake. It should not have happened and we addressed very quickly a number of issues highlighted by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate."

UKAEA's director of safety Dr John Crofts said: "Our procedures have been tightened and a number of behavioural safety initiatives have been set in place to ensure this that type of incident should never occur again."

CHAIRMAN DESIGNATE FOR NEW CoRWM
The UK Government and devolved administrations have welcomed Robert Pickard as Chair Designate of the new Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM). The Scottish Executive announced on June 25 that it would not be associated with any further work towards deep geological disposal of radioactive waste but would remain engaged with the CoRWM process insofar as it deals with recommendations for storage and research.
See: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/07/18112032


Larger Edition of the Newsletter at -
http://www.ukaea.org.uk/news/bulletins/24-july-07.html

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