Safety Record Earns Charity Windfall
23rd April 2009
Dounreay's industrial safety record during the last 12 months earned a £22,500 windfall for good causes locally.
Every month the site goes without a lost-time accident earns a £2500 pay-out from UKAEA Ltd, parent company of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd.
Each month represents more than 300,000 man-hours of work. The site recorded a total of nine accident-free months during the last financial year, resulting in a payment of £22,500.
The money is donated to the Dounreay Communities Fund, which supports charitable groups in Caithness and north Sutherland. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority gives £20,000 to the fund. Profits from a book published to mark the site's 50th anniversary are also donated.
During the last 12 months, the fund approved 117 applications and paid out almost £44,000 - an average grant of £374.
Tony Wratten, Dounreay's head of safety, said the pay-out was welcome but it underlined the need to work even harder on its zero-tolerance policy towards safety breaches.
"The best reward for a zero accident rate is the reassurance it brings that no-one is being harmed during decommissioning," he said.
"This phase of the programme involves a lot more construction and demolition work, with its inherent hazards, so it is more important than ever that we root out lapses in concentration or mistakes that can put people at greater risk of an injury."
A lost-time accident is recorded when a worker needs more than three days off work to recover. During 2008/09, a total of four lost-time accidents were recorded. The most serious involved a worker who broke an arm in a fall.
Dounreay contracts officer Debbie Denoon promotes the safety dividend scheme.
For more details about Dounreay Communities Fund and how to apply see
Work has started to make safe one of the most hazardous materials left at Dounreay. Highly radioactive liquid, known as raffinate, has been stored in tanks for around 20 years after being produced as a by-product of Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) fuel reprocessing.
Construction of a new facility to support the decommissioning of reactors and demolition of historic active laboratories are just two of Dounreay's major projects expected to be delivered as part of a new framework agreement, potentially worth up to Â£400 million, which is being published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) today. - www.ojeu.eu The decommissioning services framework agreement will initially be for a period of up to 4 years with the possibility of extensions of up to 3 years meaning skyline changes could be delivered over the next decade under the arrangements.
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: â€œI 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.
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