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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 5

6th June 2007

Photograph of Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 5

Building on our worldwide links with the nuclear industry, Neil Henderson, a safety case project manager at Dounreay, was invited by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in conjunction with the Government of South Korea, to be part of an Operational Safety Review Team to review the Yonggwang Nuclear Power Plant, Units 5&6, in South Korea.

The Yonggwang site has six pressurised water reactor units with approximately 6,000MW capacity and is operated by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. (KHNP). The team was comprised of members from the IAEA, USA, UK, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Finland and Germany, with KHNP assigning a senior plant manager to each team member.

The objective of the mission was to review operating practices in accordance with IAEA guidelines, in the areas of management, organisation and administration, training and qualification, operations, maintenance, technical support, operating experience, radiation protection and chemistry. Neil was involved in the review of operations, built on his past operational experience in the South African nuclear industry, his previous and continued contact with the IAEA and in his current position within the Dounreay Engineering Assurance unit.

The opportunity to participate in events of this kind is seen as an excellent way to interact with a wide range of contacts and disciplines and to promote the vast knowledge UKAEA has to offer.

Off-shore monitoring to improve the understanding on the extent of the particle contamination will begin this week. Last week, operations were hampered by bad weather but work did progress on the investigation around the old diffuser. On Thursday 31st May attempts were made to gain access to selected risers of the old diffuser to enable a camera to be put down to allow visual information on the condition of the rock and pipework. On Friday 1st June access to one riser was achieved and the camera was put down to a depth of over 20m where further progress was blocked. UKAEA are currently reviewing the information. Operations will continue this week with the mapping of the seabed, starting west of the site, to further delineate the extent of the main particle plume. All operations are being carried out remotely but divers are on hand if significant particles are detected towards Sandside.

UKAEA is carrying out a technical feasibility study for cleaning up the DFR dome. A number of options have been identified and the study will allow a better understanding of the feasibility of options and the cost. In their recommendation to the NDA on site end states the Dounreay Stakeholder Group requested that there should be an open and transparent debate on the dome's future. Once the technical report is completed in September UKAEA will agree the way forward with the DSG.

The Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) will hold its public meeting at 1900 hours on Wednesday 13th June in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso. Alastair MacDonald, UKAEA Programmes Manager will provide the group with an update on the accelerated decommissioning programme and updates will be provided from the Admin and Procedures, Site Operations, Environment and Socio-Economic sub groups. There is an opportunity for anyone attending to ask questions or raise issues or topics which are of interest.

UKAEA, Dounreay was one of 23 Caithness based businesses and organisations who attended the All-Energy renewable conference and exhibition in Aberdeen. More than 700 people visited the prominent Caithness Energy Alliance stand which was funded by UKAEA, on behalf of the NDA. The Alliance distributed information describing each alliance member and the advantages that Caithness has to offer in the renewable sector. The newly formed alliance aims to pursue energy related opportunities, notably those in the renewable energy field, as well as the offshore market. The alliance can be contacted through Louise Smith on 01847 893486 or by email louise[AT] and an information brochure is available in HIE, Caithness & Sutherland's offices or in libraries in Wick and Thurso.

The June issue of the site's newspaper, 'Dounreay News', is now available. The centre page story focuses on the site's demonstration emergency exercise which took place in May.

Environment Week at Dounreay began on World Environment Day, 5th June. A photographic competition open to workers and their families was very well supported with over 40 entries interpreting the theme of 'protecting the environment'. The film "An Inconvenient Truth" was shown during the week and advice on a range of environmental issues such as recycling and conserving energy was available. The week ends on Friday 8th June with a pub-style environmental quiz and a beach clean at Dunnet beach by Dounreay staff.

Dounreay's Waste Manager Paul McClelland has been appointed as a member of the International Radioactive Waste Technical Committee (WATEC). WATEC is a standing working group of international experts in radioactive waste and materials management set up by the IAEA to advise them on issues relating to radioactive waste and materials management strategies, technologies and methodologies. Members of WATEC are appointed for a period of 4 years. Paul will be representing UKAEA Dounreay at the annual meeting held at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna at the end of May.

Water levels are being reduced in Dounreay's wet silo as part of the programme to empty the historical storage facility, which was designed to store intermediate level radioactive waste. Between 14th and 24th May, the water level was reduced by approximately 10cm. The water was put through the ultrafiltration plant before being discharged to the low level liquid effluent treatment plant, which significantly reduced the level of radioactivity. The programme of de-watering will continue until 14th June.


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