Other Public Services News
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.
Yet another pioneering invention has successfully allowed the crucial next phase of decommissioning Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) to begin. The innovative purpose built device, which resembles an extremely long flexible drill, enables pockets of liquid metal to be drained from deep inside the redundant reactor.
Scotland is in danger of relying on luck to solve environmental challenges. This stark message comes from leading academic Professor Mike Hulme of the internationally recognised Tyndall Centre on Climate Change Research.
UKAEA ANNOUNCES SEABED CLEAN-UP TRIALS UKAEA on November 21 announced plans to undertake trials of remotely-operated technology that could be used to remove substantial numbers of particles from the seabed at Dounreay. A notice placed in the Official Journal of the European Union seeks expressions of interest from companies capable of detecting and removing fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel known to be buried in the offshore sediment near the site's old effluent discharge outlet.
UKAEA has announced plans to undertake trials of remotely operated technology that could be used to remove substantial numbers of particles from the seabed at Dounreay. A notice placed in the Official Journal of the European Union seeks expressions of interest from companies capable of detecting and removing fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel known to be buried in the offshore sediment near the site's old effluent discharge outlet.
A project manager is being recruited to take forward proposals for a Nuclear Skills Academy Scotland. The proposed skills academy is being drawn up in partnership between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, North Highland College UHI Millennium Institute and UKAEA Dounreay, which are jointly funding the project manager role.
LOOKING AT THE FINAL SITE OPTIONS On behalf of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, UKAEA has published a consultation document detailing the feasible options for the condition of the site when decommissioning is complete. While a final decision on the future use of the land does not need to be made for a number of years community views are being sought now to allow the NDA and its contractor UKAEA to finalise their plans for decommissioning the site with greater certainty.
Following the installation of the 25 tonne crane that is now impressively taking centre stage high over the partially clad building, the interior construction work is rapidly progressing and the layout of the pioneering plant to remove the breeder elements from DFR is beginning to take shape. A site inspector and an assessor from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) have recently accompanied members of the project team to the offices of SGN in Cherbourg, the French company appointed to design, manufacture and install the process cell.
A panel of experts has identified a short-list of 11 feasible combinations of options for addressing the legacy of radioactive particles in the marine environment around Dounreay. The options will be detailed for the first time tonight at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso when Phil Cartwright (UKAEA) and Paul Dale (SEPA) will provide an update on the recent work undertaken to understand the extent of the contamination and the human health aspects respectively.
GROUP PUBLISHES SOCIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY. A working group chaired by John Thurso MP and comprising of key stakeholders in the economy around Dounreay has completed its work with the publication of a strategy for addressing the social and economic consequences of site closure.