Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Dounreay Announces Plans To Begin Seabed Clean-up Trials

22nd November 2006

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.

In recent years, divers have spent approximately 1500 hours mapping 500,000 square metres of seabed and recovered 929 particles in the process. Companies with feasible technology will be invited to demonstrate their capability off Dounreay next summer to see if the area of seabed where the largest and most hazardous particles are thought to reside could be remediated without the occupational risks associated with continued diving.

The announcement comes after a panel of experts, tasked with short-listing options for public consultation on the particles legacy, concluded that some form of particle retrieval from the seabed should feature in all the options.

Successful retrieval might reduce the number of particles that could be transported onto local beaches in future although it is recognised that disturbance of the seabed may lead to a short term increase in the numbers of particles that come ashore on the Dounreay foreshore and on the beach at Sandside. It was also recognised by the panel that recovery of every particle will not be practicable.

Dounreay's acting director Simon Middlemas said: "It has taken several years of painstaking research, 10 million of investment, valuable expert guidance from bodies such as the Dounreay Particles Advisory Group and important input and assistance from Sandside Estate to reach this milestone.

"I am pleased to announce that we will shortly begin testing particle retrieval systems in the sea off Dounreay, because clean-up of the seabed is an important feature of dealing with the environmental contamination that has arisen as a result of past practices on the Dounreay site."

UKAEA remains committed to improving the detection of particles arriving from the sea onto Sandside Beach, where 74 have been found, and the monitoring of local beaches in the vicinity of the clean-up.

Following an international tendering exercise and series of trials, four systems have been short-listed for the award of a new monitoring contract next year and the present Groundhog system is being upgraded through innovation in its electronics. Both developments are expected to result in increased particle detection capabilities on local beaches, subject to access.

Phil Cartwright, UKAEA's contaminated land and particles remediation project manager, said: "By working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, independent experts and the owner of Sandside, we have been able to improve our knowledge of the particles and have progressively increased our detection capabilities.

"The DPAG report published today has considered the significant monitoring data and the outcome of studies undertaken up to February 2006. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the particles issue based on the knowledge available.

"DPAG makes a number of important recommendations about further improvements, including increased monitoring coverage of the beach at Sandside to obtain more data about particle arrival rates, and I welcome this. We will now sit down with SEPA and the owner of Sandside to take these recommendations forward.

"The report makes a very important contribution to the process now underway to identify the Best Practicable Environmental Option and we will continue to provide information to DPAG as our knowledge increases."


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Radiation dose to public from Dounreay reducesThumbnail for article : Radiation dose to public from Dounreay reduces
Dounreays radioactive impact on the environment continues to fall, according to a report.  The annual survey report Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE 2012) has recently been published and it can be read here - The report uses data obtained from samples of air, fresh water, grass, soil, and locally sourced meat, fish, milk and vegetables during 2012.  
57,000 Tonnes Of Hazardous Materials Finally Dealt With At Dounreay
Dounreay today completed the destruction of one of the most hazardous legacies of Britain's earliest atomic research.  A purpose-built chemical plant processed the last of 57,000 litres of liquid metal lifted from the primary cooling circuit of the experimental fast breeder reactor.  
Dounreay Dome Paint Job ScrappedThumbnail for article : Dounreay Dome Paint Job Scrapped
Bosses at Dounreay agreed that they won't now be spending 500,000 on a repaint of the sphere.   They money saved will go instead towards actual decommissioning work.  
Clean-up Reveals 6000 Years Of Human HistoryThumbnail for article : Clean-up Reveals 6000 Years Of Human History
Getting rid of Britain's 20th century experiment with fast breeder nuclear reactors is illuminating the history of human settlement on Scotland's north coast stretching back 6000 years.   Archaeologists hired as part of the closure of the nuclear site at Dounreay have pieced together the legacy left by previous generations who occupied the site as long ago as 4000BC.  
New Report Lists Radioactive Wastes At DounreayThumbnail for article : New Report Lists Radioactive Wastes At Dounreay
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published the latest edition of the UK's radioactive waste inventory.   This sets out the type and volumes of radioactive waste at sites such as Dounreay, as of April 1, 2010.  
Nuclear Shutdown Cash Boost For School Skills
Cash from the closure of the fast reactor site at Dounreay is set to breed a new generation of engineers and scientists in the Scottish Highlands.   The money from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will fund half the cost of a 50,000 project to increase the number of school-leavers skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths.  
New Vaults Signal Start Of Waste ClearanceThumbnail for article : New Vaults Signal Start Of Waste Clearance
The clearance of tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay today moved a step closer.   Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd announced the formal award of a contract to develop a disposal site for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.  
Ex UKAEA Boss Appointed To Crown Estates Board
THE CROWN ESTATE REAPPOINTS CHRIS BARTRAM, AND APPOINTS DIPESH SHAH OBE AND ANTHONY WHITE AS NON-EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS The Crown Estate has announced yesterday, 22 December 2010, the re-appointment of Chris Bartram and the appointment of Dipesh Shah and Anthony White as Non-Executive Board Members.   Chris Bartram, who has held the appointment as Crown Estate Board Member for four years has been reappointed for a further four year term with effect from 1 January 2011.  
Dounreay Boss Welcomed Funding Announcement
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd recently welcomed an announcement about how much public money will be available to continue nuclear clean-up in the UK.   DSRL manages the closure of the site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which today confirmed that its total expenditure, including income generated, would be maintained at current levels of around 3bn a year.  
French Nuclear Experts At Dounreay
Four experts from the Autorit de Suret Nucleaire, the French nuclear safety inspectorate, spent a day at Dounreay discussing the decommissioning of alkali metal cooled fast reactors.   The visit was hosted by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate as part of international collaboration over nuclear health and safety matters.  

[Printer Friendly Version]