Lord Lieutenant salutes Dounreay on 60 years of apprentices
24th September 2015
The latest batch of Dounreay's newly qualified skilled workers were encouraged to make the most of the exciting opportunities and challenges ahead.
This year Dounreay's new recruits are the sixtieth group of apprentices in a long line of young people joining the site's highly respected apprenticeship scheme since 1955.
Dounreay is one of the few companies who have taken on apprentices without a break for sixty years.
Giving her keynote speech at the annual prize giving ceremony on Friday, Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Anne Dunnett, talked about her own ambitions to succeed as a solicitor when she too completed her apprenticeship against the odds following her initial career as a sheriff officer.
She was speaking at the awards ceremony of Dounreay's apprentice training programme when she presented certificates of indenture and achievement trophies to the latest group of young people to qualify in electrical, mechanical and instrument crafts.
Anne said: ‘I am very proud to be here to celebrate with you tonight and wish you all the success for the future.
"I am living proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and you are lucky to have this opportunity at Dounreay and to be able to earn while you learn.
"You should be grateful to everyone who has helped you get this far and I hope you stay with us and keep our young generation in the county. I salute Dounreay for providing this scheme for sixty years and well done on all your achievements."
DSRL’s training and development manager Jillian Bundy, said: "This is always a special evening for the team, as we celebrate the transition of our apprentices from the inexperienced school leavers we recruited, to confident, skilled and well qualified young adults, embarking on the next stage of their careers.
"We are very proud of their success and are delighted to welcome all their parents to share this special occasion.
“We are extremely proud of our sixty year history of apprenticeships, which supports our aim to become the benchmark in Europe for successful decommissioning of a complex nuclear site."
After presenting the Lachie MacMillan Memorial Cup to Mark Webster and the award for the best all round apprentice which went to Sam Parsons, Dounreay’s managing director, Mark Rouse congratulated everyone present and said: “I can’t stress enough how proud we all are, how proud your families are and how proud you should be of yourselves.
“My team and I are very proud of what you’ve achieved with us; you are the lifeblood of the future and we need new blood in our company to take us forward. This is the start of a bright future and you have a great job ahead of you in a bustling and thriving industry."
Closing out the formal proceedings Mark took the opportunity to stress the importance of safety first - always, adding: “Keep safety your top priority at all times, look out for each other and your colleagues and I wish you all the very best for your future."
Engineers at Dounreay have raided a scrap car and a kitchen can opener to help decommission one of the site's reactors. The handbrake from a vintage 1968 Ford Cortina has been used to help steer a camera, attached to wheels taken from can openers, into the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) where a detailed survey inside the plant was completed.
Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has submitted a planning application to the Highland Council covering a series of decommissioning projects expected to take place between 2018 and the site's shut down, also known as the interim end state. The application, which is the last of three planning phases covering the overall decommissioning of the site, follows engagement undertaken earlier this year including public events and an opportunity to comment on draft documents online.
Drone technology is helping Dounreay reduce the risk of accidents and save money on its inspection of buildings. A camera mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle is taking over tasks previously carried out by workers on elevated work platforms.
Work is underway to retrieve the last remaining radioactive fuel elements that have been stuck for decades inside the iconic Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR). The experimental dome-shaped nuclear reactor once led the world in fast breeder technology and after it closed in 1977 most of the core fuel was removed.
Eleven young people who have completed their Dounreay apprentice training are "very much a part of the future of the far north." Guest speaker Jamie Stone MP told the audience at the apprentice indenture ceremony that took place last Friday that, as Dounreay continues to decommission, the newly indentured apprentices would be an important part of the area's ability to offer a skilled and innovative workforce. Dounreay Managing Director and former nuclear industry apprentice Phil Craig added: “I am very proud that we are celebrating yet another group of talented apprentices.
Companies are being invited to LINC together and support Scotland's largest decommissioning project thanks to an innovative new scheme designed to increase the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) delivering clean-up work at Dounreay. Up to five companies will be invited to help understand and develop the best proposal for size-reducing all of the machinery and components that will need to be removed from Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) - the largest to be built at the Caithness site.
Graduates from as far afield as Portugal and London arrived in Caithness last week to kick start their career at Dounreay. Ten new recruits have started on the two-year graduate scheme with educational backgrounds as diverse as engineering, law and digital forensics and ethical hacking.
It is 60 years this weekend since the first criticality was achieved in Scotland using a test rig at Dounreay. Now the decommissioning team responsible for the site is marking that milestone by taking a major step towards demolishing the oldest reactor that remains at the former fast reactor research centre.
This film, produced by AEA Technology in 1994, looks back on the history of the fast reactor development programme at Dounreay..
Progress across Dounreay's decommissioning programme is being showcased in a new film and brochure highlighting the team's successes during 2016-17. Some of the highest hazards that remained in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estate, including liquid metal coolant from the Dounreay Fast Reactor, were reduced and destroyed during the year bringing to a successful conclusion projects that spanned many years.
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