Other Public Services News
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Executive today launched a consultation exercise in a bid to find out how the current regulations governing waste management could be improved. The Better Regulation of Waste initiative aims to determine if existing guidelines are effective and support Scotland's commitment to increase recycling rates and reduce the reliance on landfill.
The second stage of consultation on the options for dealing with radioactive particles in the marine environment has come to a close. The consultation focussed on the relative importance of the criteria used to assess the 11 combined options identified by a scoring panel as most likely to succeed following the first round of consultation.
DOUNREAY SETS NEW RECORD FOR SAFETY PERFORMANCE As of Friday March 16, Dounreay had gone a record 184 days without a lost-time accident. This is equivalent to 2.18 million man-hours of work.
Another ground-breaking device is leading the way with decommissioning Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR). The innovative purpose built device, nicknamed Cyclops, was designed in-house by UKAEA's specialist design team.
A free newspaper has hit the streets of Caithness. But the proprietors of the local John O'Groat Journal and Caithness Courier don't need to worry.
OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW Old age and severe weather have taken their toll on the seasonal visitor centre at Dounreay. The former World War Two air traffic control tower was damaged during severe flooding in November.
SIMON MIDDLEMAS IS NEW SITE DIRECTOR Simon Middlemas has been appointed as the new director of the nuclear decommissioning site at Dounreay in succession to Norman Harrison. Simon has been acting director since August 2006 and prior to that he was deputy director.
Highlands and Islands MSP and former Education Minister Peter Peacock made a fact-finding visit to Dounreay on 26 February 2007. The group saw at first hand the demolition of the fast reactor experiment and visited the site of the latest building to be removed from the skyline - the site's former security office known as D9973.
Simon Middlemas has been appointed as the new Director of the nuclear decommissioning site at Dounreay in succession to Norman Harrison. Simon has been Acting Director since August 2006 and prior to that he was Deputy Director.
UKAEA was fined £140,000 at Wick Sheriff Court today having plead guilty last week to four breaches of the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 between 1963 and 1984. UKAEA expects to announce in May the preferred option for the retrieval of radioactive particles from the environment around Dounreay.
Scrap metal from the strip-out of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) secondary sodium circuit cells is being re-used by UKAEA at the T3uk purpose built trials centre at Janetstown, on the outskirts of Thurso. The redundant steel sections, once used to support pipework within the cells, were identified for re-use to assist with other Dounreay decommissioning projects.
DOUNREAY DIRECTOR NAMED AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE Norman Harrison, currently acting chief operating officer of UKAEA, has been appointed its chief executive officer. A chemist by profession, he was appointed director of Dounreay in 2003.
Public Meeting Thursday 15th February at 6.00pm - Royal Hotel Public Exhibition Thursday 15th February from 2.00pm Options to agree the physical condition of the land that will be available after the Dounreay site has been decommissioned - the site end state - will be the subject of a public meeting. This will allow the Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) to draft a recommendation for consideration by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
Norman Harrison, currently acting Chief Operating Officer for the UK Atomic Energy (UKAEA), has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 February 2007. Announcing the appointment, UKAEA Chairman Barbara Thomas Judge said: "I am delighted that Norman has been chosen as our new Chief Executive.
UKAEA pleaded guilty on 6 February 2007 at Wick Sheriff Court to four charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. The charges related to the disposal of radioactive waste to a landfill site at Dounreay between 1963 and 1975, and the release of particles from the site to the environment on dates between 1963 and 1984.
Holders of abstraction licences who know in advance that they will not be abstracting in any one year will welcome the announcement from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) that it will not charge annual subsistence for that year. Martin Marsden of SEPA said, "This is good news for abstraction licence holders and particularly for farmers who have decided not to grow certain crops that may require irrigation in a particular year.
Dounreay has started drilling up to 400 boreholes around the site's waste shaft in the biggest step so far towards its eventual clean-out. Grout will be injected through the boreholes to seal fissures in the rock around the 65 metre deep shaft and so create a giant containment barrier in the shape of a boot around the shaft that will isolate the radioactive waste from groundwater.
SITE REDUCES EXPENDITURE TO MEET NDA SHORTFALL The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has asked its clean-up sites to reduce expenditure between now and the end of March to enable the NDA to cover a shortfall in its commercial income. Dounreay is required to find savings of approximately £6 million, reducing the overall site spend in this financial year to approximately £141 million.
A taskforce drawing on the area's three key public agencies will be charged with delivering an action plan for the regeneration of the Caithness and North Sutherland economy. The Far North has specific economic hurdles ahead with the prospect of decommissioning work at Dounreay's nuclear reactor coming to an end in the early 2030s with the eventual loss of around 2,500 jobs.
Work to pull apart Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) is rapidly advancing with more and more large items of redundant equipment being ripped out of the former reactor complex as the plant is dismantled. Dounreay is at the leading edge of world-wide clean-up of former nuclear facilities, and as demolition progresses removal of massive and extremely heavy steel structures presents a challenging task to the site.