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Dounreay Director Sets Out Benefits Of Programme Acceleration

25th June 2006

A workforce that can safely deliver the decommissioning and demolition of Britain's fast reactor experiment at Dounreay is a workforce that will be in demand worldwide for its skills.

This is the message delivered today by Norman Harrison, director of UKAEA Dounreay, in a new publication setting out the benefits of accelerated clean-up of the site and the efforts being made to find alternative employment for staff whose jobs presently depend on this work.

UKAEA has put forward proposals to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to accelerate the completion of the clean-up from 2036 to 2033 and, together with its business partners AMEC and CH2MHILL, is looking to advance this further.

Teams of staff are looking at ways to bring forward key dates for completion of the major decommissioning milestones, including emptying of the shaft and silo, clean-out of the Dounreay Fast Reactor and treatment of liquid wastes left over from historical reprocessing. On current plans, employment is predicted to decline from 2012 onwards.

At the same time, a working group formed by community and business leaders is consulting on a draft strategy for economic regeneration of Caithness and north Sutherland.

The eight-page document being issued to staff at Dounreay sets out how acceleration of the work can maintain higher levels of employment in the short-term and bring significant environmental and safety benefits by getting wastes into a safe condition for long-term storage or disposal at the earliest opportunity,

It also lists 31 redundant buildings and structures due for demolition, in addition to 14 cleared last year, as the decommissioning and demolition work moves forward at pace.

In his introduction, Norman Harrison says: "Take one look around the Dounreay site today and no-one can be in any doubt that we mean what we say about accelerated decommissioning. In every corner of the site, redundant facilities are being cleaned out, old facilities pulled down and new buildings being constructed to manage the wastes.

"Dounreay is coming apart. My priority, everyone's priority, is to ensure it comes apart in a way that is safe, secure and environmentally acceptable. And in so doing, we give ourselves the best possible chance of attracting the new jobs we need to succeed decommissioning. A workforce that is recognised worldwide for its achievement in knocking down Dounreay is a workforce that will be in demand."

Dounreay - Delivering for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority describes how there are overwhelming safety, security and environmental reasons for cleaning out and knocking down the redundant facilities as quickly as it is safe to do so. But it also shows how bringing forward work to achieve this can maintain employment levels at a higher level in the short-term.

It also unlocks funds that otherwise would be spent on maintaining redundant facilities for long periods of time, and these funds can be recycled in a number of ways. They can be used to bring forward other work, or they can be used to support initiatives to create alternative employment. Some of these funds are already being invested in new enterprises with the potential to create new and sustainable economic development.

Dounreay was Britain's centre of fast reactor research and development from 1954 until 1994. It is now being decommissioned by UKAEA, with support from AMEC and CH2MHILL, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Approximately 2000 people are employed on the Dounreay site, working for more than 50 companies. This accounts for one in every five jobs in the local economy. Decommissioning is worth an estimated 70-80 million per annum to the local economy.

A copy of Dounreay - Delivering for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority can be viewed on the UKAEA website at

Delivering For the Nuclear Decommissioning


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