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From Caithness to the World

6th August 2015

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A ceremonial turf cutting ceremony marked the official start of building work on the new archive that will store nuclear records from across the UK.

David Flear, chairman of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, dug into the ground at the Wick site where the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Nuclear Archive will start to take shape over the next 12 months.

He welcomed the step forward saying: "The NDA Archive brings a lasting legacy to the area, and I am delighted it is progressing so well. The Dounreay Stakeholder Group has been involved with the NDA on this project for some time now and everything we hoped for appears to be taking shape."

The NDA Archive, located next to Wick John O Groats airport, will become the single facility to collect and store relevant records from all the civil nuclear sites in the UK. The Archive will be accessible to the industry, for international research and to the public. As a government body, the NDA is responsible for ensuring that all relevant nuclear records are preserved and made available in line with legislation on public information. These records include hundreds of thousands of boxes from Sellafield and Magnox sites currently in archive storage, as well as many thousands of boxes from Dounreay, Harwell and nuclear sites across Britain which have been amassed over 70 years of the industry.

The NDA's Business Services Director Rob Higgins, attending the event in Wick, said the new facility and the arrangements being put in place to manage it would ensure the records are managed expertly, safely and consistently into the future as more and more sites, like Dounreay, progress through decommissioning.  "Records Management," he said, “ like all the other work done across our estate is subject to regulation and scrutiny to make sure we look after all our records safely and securely and retrievable in the best possible condition. Consolidating all of our archived records in Wick will ensure best information management practices and better value for money.”

Morrison Construction has been appointed as the build contractor and the NDA Archive is due to be completed by the end of next year, opening its doors to the public in 2017. Commenting at the ceremony, Donald Mclachlan, Regional Director for Morrison, said: “We are delighted to have secured the NDA contract and look forward to strengthening our relationships with the supply chain to create a building that is fit for purpose. This project will see us providing long term secure storage for more than 70 years’ worth of historic information, and with our previous experience of constructing the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness, we are best placed to deliver just that.”

The Wick Archive is a priority project in the Caithness & north Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Programme and is part of the NDA’s ongoing socio economic support to the area. It will also provide a new home for the Caithness Archive.
NDA Archives logo strap-line, from Caithness to the World, was originally inscribed on a stone sculpture commissioned in 1966 to commemorate the opening of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) at Dounreay. The sculpture remains part of the Dounreay Heritage collection and will be relocated to the NDA Archive on completion of the build.


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