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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 6

19th June 2007

Following a recent visit to the site by two senior inspectors from Historic Scotland, UKAEA and the organisation responsible for protecting Scotland's heritage have agreed to formulate a heritage strategy for the future of the iconic features of the site.

Following her visit to Dounreay, Deborah Mays, head of listing for Historic Scotland, said: "There is a lot of interest in seeing the dome preserved as it is a popular landmark, but this must be balanced with the critical realities of the decontamination exercise. The heritage strategy will consider the options and include consultation with the public and UK heritage experts. We will continue to work with UKAEA to look at options for recognising this technological achievement within the context of the decommissioning process."

Environment Week at Dounreay began on Tuesday June 5, World Environment Day. All the activities were well-attended and highlighted the importance of protecting our environment. While most of the activities were on site the week culminated with volunteers cleaning the beach at Dunnet. Over 400 bags of rubbish and bigger items resulted in two lorry loads of waste collected. More:

In March 2006, the Bulletin reported that UKAEA was discussing with the authorities in Peru options for dealing with 2.9 tonnes of thorium exported from Dounreay in 1998 for the manufacture of gas mantles but which had lain unused by the customer. In the absence of suitable treatment and disposal facilities in Peru, it was agreed to return the product to Dounreay. The site is now in the final stages of completing the necessary paperwork to enable this to happen in the near future. Once returned, the material will be conditioned in the same way as other thorium stored at the site.

An investigation has been launched into the discovery of suspected plutonium during checks of contaminated ground at Dounreay. The ground around the old effluent collection tanks is known to have been contaminated by historical leakage, and staff have been carrying out checks of the area to finalise plans for a 4 million clean-up. Higher than expected levels of radioactivity were detected during inspection of a manhole. Please follow this link for further information.

Dounreay Stakeholder Group held its latest meeting on June 13. The main topic for discussion was UKAEA's forward planning for site decommissioning, manpower projections and its socio-economic impact. See:

Alastair MacDonald, UKAEA Programme Manager, said: "A robust plan allows for better understanding of the skills required for the longer term to complete the decommissioning of the site. Conversely it also informs when certain skills will no longer be needed and this will be of value to the local enterprise company in forward planning to match skills to potential new opportunities."

Dounreay's redundant laundry has been demolished as part of the site enabling works for a major new facility that will treat liquid and solid radioactive wastes that are a legacy of reprocessing fast reactor fuel at Dounreay.

A project manager has been appointed to take forward proposals for a Nuclear Academy Scotland.

Ken Nicol, formerly a Business Development Manager with NUKEM at Dounreay, will report to a partnership formed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with HIE Caithness and Sutherland, North Highland College and UKAEA Dounreay. The Nuclear Academy Scotland will form part of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. The development of the national academy, including the Scottish arm, is a significant step towards ensuring the UK has a sufficiently skilled workforce to support the nuclear industry including the decommissioning programme.

Dounreay's Carol Miller has been seconded part time to act as the North Highland Tourism (NHT) project co-ordinator to assist in activities relating to encouraging and increasing tourism in the area. The NHT is one element of the North Highland Initiative which is intended to assist with the economy of the North Highlands.

Mike Potts has been appointed UKAEA's Director of Safety and Assurance. He will succeed John Crofts, who is moving to a new post in industry. Mike, a chartered engineer, joined UKAEA in 2000.

John Baxter, who was director of Dounreay from 1994-96, has been appointed president of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. See:

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