Other Public Services News
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.
The Caithness & Sutherland Chamber of Commerce is urging the lead Agencies in the decommissioning of the Dounreay site and the economic regeneration of Caithness & North Sutherland to make clear without further delay their acceptance or otherwise of the proposal, put forward six months ago at a Meeting of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, for the appointment of a 'supremo' to oversee and drive the process forward. If the proposal has been rejected by the Agencies what are the objections to it and what plans do the Agencies have to take matters forward? Whilst acknowledging that the lead role is the responsibility of the Agencies concerned the Chamber considers it essential that any proposal/plan has public confidence and support.
Exhibitions about radioactive particles in the marine environment near Dounreay will open in Caithness next week. The exhibitions will provide an update of information on the work carried out to date and provide information on a short list of eleven clean-up options identified.
FOUR YEARS ACCIDENT-FREE FOR REACTOR DECOMMISSIONING TEAM Safety has become a way of life in dismantling the Dounreay Fast Reactor. Four years without a lost time accident is no mean feat in any industry, but this achievement has been all the sweeter with the knowledge of the enormous range of work undertaken at DFR and the mix of people employed.
NONE IN A MILLION - DOUNREAY REACHES SAFETY MILESTONE Dounreay has clocked up a million man-hours without a lost time accident. With more construction and demolition work taking place than ever before, this is an excellent achievement.
PLUG REINFORCED TO ENABLE SHAFT TO BE DECOMMISSIONED The second stage of the Shaft Isolation Project is complete and has achieved its objective. A section of the liquid effluent discharge tunnel which passes close to the base of the shaft was required to be in-filled with grout in advance of the installation of the main shaft isolation barrier.
A new €10 billion international project to harness fusion energy can offer major opportunities for Scottish companies. That will be the message to a delegation from the Scottish Executive when they visit the headquarters of the UK's fusion research programme on Monday 11th December.
The third report of the Dounreay Particles Advisory Group states that the possibility of coming into direct contact with a particle at Sandside is extremely small and would not cause any discernable health effect. As a result existing signs, which were erected by the estate, were removed at the weekend by the estate of its own choice.