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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 12

8th October 2006

Princess Anne is to officially open Britain's first purpose-built nuclear clean-up test, trials, training, research and development centre as part of a visit to Caithness on Tuesday, October 10. She will tour the 3.5 million facility at Janetstown, near Thurso and meet staff, guests and PhD researchers working there. The t3UK centre will support the UK's 70 billion nuclear clean-up programme. It provides state-of-the-art facilities for companies to train staff and test the equipment needed to dismantle hazardous facilities at nuclear sites. It is also being marketed to the oil and gas and environmental sectors as an equipment testing base.

Britain's first purpose-built decommissioning test centre is to be used for trials in support of a major new waste treatment plant proposed at Dounreay.

A new development capability has been set up at the t3uk facility at Janetstown, Thurso, to allow the preparation, buffer storage and controlled delivery of relatively large volumes, from 100 litres up to 600 litres, of highly-fluid wet grout as part of the continuing trials for the proposed new cementation plant. The new plant will be used to treat certain liquid and solid radioactive wastes that are a legacy of reprocessing fuel at Dounreay.

The facility brings local benefits from various grouting trials for the encapsulation of solid intermediate level waste for the proposed facility. Existing UKAEA equipment with a limited amount of new equipment was required for this development. In the past large-scale trials have been carried out at south contractor's works. The facility will help to develop and justify specific elements of the plant design, and also has the capability to support other projects where encapsulation of solid waste using liquid grout will be required.

The system is modular and can be quickly connected together to carry out trials and subsequently disconnected into separate component parts and stored between uses. The system is also easily transported as all of the individual pieces of equipment are skid mounted and could be potentially used at other sites and locations.

Dounreay's programme of repackaging waste drums is retrieving valuable material from the scrap waste and segregating it for future waste treatment or recovery. 262 drums of intermediate and low level radioactively contaminated waste from historic operations are currently being dealt with by the site's uranium recovery plant.

Safety can become second nature through changing behaviours and attitudes towards everyday practices. This is the objective of a major education and training programme being rolled out to all staff across the Dounreay site.
More: Making_safe_behaviour_Second_Nature_report_.pdf

A survey has been carried out of the beach at Murkle as part of the site's ongoing programme to map and retrieve radioactive particles in the environment. The survey covered almost 100,000m2 and is now subject to an internal audit before reviewing the results with SEPA. No particles were detected during the survey.

A new fund to assist business development in Caithness beyond Dounreay has been launched by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The NDA is investing 500,000 in the North Highland Regeneration Fund to pump-prime developments that can create alternative employment as decommissioning work runs out. The fund was launched by NDA chief executive Dr Ian Roxburgh at Janetstown on October 5 and will be administered by New Park Management Ltd on behalf of a board that includes local MP John Thurso and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise chief executive Carroll Buxton.

The social and economic impact of decommissioning on Caithness and Cumbria is the subject of a conference in Preston on December 1. "Sustainable Communities? Decommissioning and the future of Dounreay and Sellafield" is being organised by the Westlakes Research Institute, part of the University of Central Lancashire, in collaboration with the UHI Millennium Institute.

Over the last 50 years, both areas have become highly dependent on the two largest civil nuclear sites in the UK, and their decommissioning has profound economic and social implications that are common to both areas. The conference aims to explore these implications, share best practice and foster future collaboration between them.

Speakers include Councillor David Flear, convener of the Caithness area of Highland Council, UHI Millennium Institute principal Prof Bob Cormack and Norman Harrison, acting chief operating officer of UKAEA. For more information, contact Liz Kelly at ejkelly[AT]

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published a draft socio-economic policy for consultation with communities around its sites, including dates. The closing date for comments is January 19.


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