Clean-up Reveals 6000 Years Of Human History
24th March 2011
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.
Headland Archaeology Ltd spent September and October excavating open ground adjacent to the redundant nuclear site that is earmarked for the disposal of low level radioactive waste from its decommissioning.
Their digging found the remains of a cairn - a stone-covered cist used to inter bodies, often with their jewellery and weapons - thought to date from the Bronze Age (circa 2300 - 700BC).
The cairn had been disturbed and emptied at some point in the past. The only remaining artefact discovered was a flint flake.
A nearby Neolithic cairn discovered in 1928 with the bodies of five people inside is already fenced off and protected by law as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It dates from 4000BC.
Headland has interpreted the area's archaeology in posters. These are now on display in Thurso at the Dounreay.com public information centre and Caithness Horizons exhibition.
Dounreay heritage officer James Gunn said: "The work carried out by Headland adds to the knowledge of the site and boosts the legacy of information we can leave behind when the nuclear facilities are gone."
The site of the archaeological excavation is earmarked for development as a shallow repository for up to 175,000 metres3 of solid low-level radioactive waste from the clean-out and demolition of the reactor experiment.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd announced in January that Graham Construction had been selected as its preferred bidder for the design and construction of the facility, with a formal award of contract due later this month.
Subject to regulatory and other consents, construction of the first two vaults is scheduled to begin in the autumn and take two years to complete.
The facility will enable DSRL to clear all the low-level radioactive waste from the site and dispose of it in a way that protects future generations.
As part of the nuclear sector deal, to foster ever-stronger links between the British and Japanese nuclear industry, Councillor Struan Mackie who represents Thurso and North West Caithness on Highland Council (Deputy-Chair of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group) undertook a five day Japanese visit to discuss the impact of nuclear decommissioning on local communities with stakeholders in Tsuruga City, Fukui prefecture. The whistle-stop visit included two days in Tsuruga on , the home of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agencies fast reactor ‘Monju', is generally regarded to be a ‘partner plant' to Dounreay's PFR in Caithness.
Dounreay's latest supplier information day, hosted jointly with companies appointed to its decommissioning services framework, has proved popular with companies from around the UK. Around 200 people packed into a venue in Wick, Caithness to hear about plans for future work to decommission the site.
Half of the last remaining radioactive fuel elements jammed for decades inside the iconic Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) have now been removed. DFR with its famous dome once led the world in fast breeder technology.
The first concrete pour has taken place on a new waste store at Dounreay that will be needed for the closure of the site. Dounreay awarded the contract to construct the new intermediate level waste store to GRAHAM Construction Ltd.
The event, now in its ninth year, has been an overwhelming success in engaging with the suppliers who are so essential to achieving our decommissioning mission. Since launching in 2011, the event has attracted a total of around 10,000 visitors from more than 20 countries, representing thousands of companies both large and small.
This was the NDA's third summit, and the inspirational setting of the new Coleg Menai facilities, on Anglesey in North Wales, perfectly reflected the NDA’s approach to building sustainable post-nuclear communities around its estate. Some £4 million of funding from the NDA’s socio-economic budget has been used to create a state-of-the-art educational facility at the heart of the island.
Introduction to the Consultation How to respond In this consultation, the NDA wants to hear from members of the public, nuclear regulators, employees within our businesses, trade unions, local authorities, Site Stakeholder Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations and any other organisation or public body. In your response please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.
An emergency exercise will take place at Dounreay on the morning of Thursday 17 January. The site alert will be sounded to initiate the exercise.
In this consultation, the NDA wants to hear from members of the public, nuclear regulators, employees within our businesses, trade unions, local authorities, Site Stakeholder Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations and any other organization or public body. In your response please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.
The Dounreay Socio Economic Plan sets out the main activities to be undertaken by the Dounreay Socio Economic Alliance (DSEA) which consists of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Cavendish Dounreay Partnership (CDP) and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL. DSEA's activities are based on support to mitigate the economic impacts of the decommissioning of the Dounreay site.
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