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Dounreay Heritage Annual Report 2018 To 2019

3rd December 2019

Dounreay heritage strategy - Updated 26 November 2019

The Dounreay Heritage Strategy was published in 2010 and is managed by the DSRL heritage officer with advice from a panel of external experts from Historic Environment Scotland (HES), National Museums Scotland (NMS), Highlife Highland (HLH) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The Heritage Advisory Panel held its ninth meeting on 26 March 2019 in Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives.

In February 2019, the Caithness Horizons Board took the decision to close the facility due to a number of reasons. Representatives from HES and NMS have offered to provide practical advice and guidance to the Caithness Horizons Board or the Highland Council, about issues relating to managing a museum. It is hoped that the facility will re-open under new management.

Key Activities for 2018/19

Collection of objects

37 objects were collected throughout the year;

Photomultiplier electron tube

Boron carbide pellets

PFR demountable sub assembly spares

Site emergency alarm button from DFR control room

DFR postcard

Formal card invites from Dounreay Director for DFR and PFR ceremonies

Three authorised appointment cards for shift manager roles

Various letters to G Blagden from 1950s and 1960s

1983 UKAEA nuclear safety course - programme of visits and lectures

Attendance certificate for advanced reactor technology course

Dounreay pen

Two UKAEA key rings

UKAEA screwdriver set

Crane driver's certificate dated 1981

Caithness Glass bowl on wooden plinth for UKAEA winners of "Leaders in innovation" in 2005

2018 NDA mug

Metal pin badge with DFR silhouette and "UKAEA Dounreay"

UKAEA eraser

Flexi armband

DFR postcard dated 1962

Densitometer for TLD film

20 finger thermoluminescent dosemeters (TLDs)

TLD "chips" and glass annealing plate

Two yellow plastic TLD badges

Two brass TLD powder sieves

Dosimetry services reference handbook - dated March 1999

UKAEA house rent cards for 1975/76 and 1976/77

House rent agreement

Dounreay House Owners Association constitution

ROC mug featuring ROC and Dounreay logos

Johnson Controls coaster for advertising the Dounreay helpdesk

Craft Apprentice signed competency certificate for electricity - dated 1977

UKAEA Dounreay booklet “Design office abbreviations, symbols and statements”

Industrial superannuation scheme booklet - dated 1973

UKAEA clear plastic ruler which incorporates a sliding jigsaw puzzle about learning

Leather wallet containing electrical safety rules dated 1999

UKAEA wallet with inserts for small information cards

The closure of Caithness Horizons Museum in February 2019 means that there is no local display of Dounreay objects. The Highland Council is now responsible for the collections in the museum.

Recording history

A process to capture the memories of those leaving the site is in place and nineteen forms were completed and returned. The form has 5 questions.

Other activities

Knowledge sharing presentations

James Gunn, Heritage Officer, gave a presentation at the international industrial heritage conference held in Wick on 23 June 2018, entitled; “Dounreay: past, present and future”. It was jointly organised by Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group and the Scottish Industrial Heritage Society. Fifty attendees came from the UK and Japan.

James also gave a presentation at the Kingston University London, to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research network “Nuclear cultural heritage: From knowledge to practice”. The international seminar had 36 attendees from the UK, Russia, USA and Lithuania.

James took part in the 2019 Caithness International Science Festival by giving a public talk about the early years of Dounreay. It was held at Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives and was attended by 40 people. V&A Dundee Museum of Design

The V&A Dundee museum opened on 15 September 2018 and various representatives from Dounreay were invited and attended the preview day. The museum features a model of the DFR sphere, which is on loan from Caithness Horizons and initially also featured work by four Dounreay apprentices who created a travel app called “Wilderness” as part of a country-wide design relay project for the V&A. The museum expects over 500,000 visitors in the first year.

The sphere also features in a book entitled ”The story of Scottish design” edited by Philip Long & Joanna Norman, printed by Thames & Hudson. There is a photo and a drawing of the sphere.


Natalie Cubides-Brady, a film studies student, undertook filming at Dounreay and Caithness throughout 2018 as part of her studies. Entitled; “Beyond the north winds: A post nuclear reverie” it is due to be screened at a film festival in Switzerland in April 2019. Other international film festivals are being approached, including Edinburgh.

The film cannot be viewed until after various festival screenings take place, otherwise it will be disqualified. J Gunn and A MacConnell feature in the 25 minute film, which has a different approach to the usual Dounreay films.

Research studies

The University of the Highlands and Islands has two on-going doctoral studies that cover Dounreay and the nuclear industry. The thesis titles are:

“The Dounreay Nuclear Establishment and its impact on the Northern Highlands of Scotland”. This study will be finished in Summer 2019.

“Archiving a nuclear past: exploring the nuclear energy industry and its community impact in Britain.” Strategy

The NDA is intending to publish a national heritage strategy covering all its sites and it will be based on the learning experiences of the Dounreay heritage strategy.

James Gunn

Heritage Officer

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd


20 May 2019


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