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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 5 - June 2006

21st June 2006

Over the coming weeks and months, UKAEA will be restructuring itself. The purpose of this is two-fold - to enable the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to take ownership of its decommissioning sites and put their future management out to competition, and to enable part of UKAEA to be vested as a commercial bidder for this and other work.

At Dounreay, a new entity known as a site licence company is to be formed, employing most of the existing 1100 or so UKAEA staff. This will be a stand-alone body, capable of holding the NII licence, the SEPA authorisation and other necessary permits.

In the run-up to competition, the new site licence company will belong to UKAEA, as the licensee, and be managed by UKAEA's new commercial group with support from its alliance partners, AMEC and CH2MHILL. In 2008, the NDA is expected to seek competitive tenders for the management of the Dounreay site licence company, with the successful bidder taking over ownership in 2009.

The European Commission has published the findings of a verification of environmental monitoring and basic safety compliance at Dounreay under Article 35 of the Euratom Treaty. The report was very favourable and concludes that the facilities at and around the site are adequate and their operation and efficiency was verified. No specific recommendations arose from most of the Commission's verification activities. Recommendations from the 2004 visit included upgrading of high-volume air-samplers, which has now been carried out, and a review of access arrangements and performance standards for beaches monitoring, which is continuing. The Commission has also asked to be kept informed of developments to decommission the shaft. The findings can be read at:

Dounreay's former research reactor fuel reprocessing plant has had its hazard category reduced substantially, largely as a result of the significant achievements by the decommissioning team. The downgrade acknowledges that the nuclear material contained in the plant is now so low that the facility poses a very small radiological threat to the general public. See:

Since April 2005, Dounreay has been required by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to develop a socio-economic plan for the decommissioning and closure of Dounreay. Acceleration of the clean-up programme means this plan is now being reviewed to take account of changes to the employment and expenditure profile. Latest projections now show a significant decline in employment from 2012 onwards.

"Another important recent change is the worldwide experience of major industrial change that our new alliance partners, AMEC and CH2MHILL, have brought to the management of the site," said Norman Harrison, director of Dounreay.

"The time is now right to review our socio-economic plan for the closure of the site so that we make full use of their international experience. AMEC and CH2MHILL will support me in discussions with our stakeholders about how we take forward our plans and ensure we can support fully those bodies with the wider responsibility for economic development in the area. It will also allow Sandy McWhirter, who has been instrumental over the last year in establishing socio-economic planning at Dounreay, to focus on the commercial development of UKAEA as a business in its own right, and I believe this is an area where we can also make a contribution to the wellbeing of the area."

Around 30 representatives of the supply chain at Dounreay attended a consultative workshop with UKAEA on June 14 as part of the development of a new contracting strategy for the decommissioning of the site. Dounreay currently lets work valued at 90 million a year from an annual budget of approximately 140 million and the strategy will shape future opportunities for the supply chain as the clean-up programme accelerates.

The purpose of the day-long event was to consider how the strategy can best support the safe and efficient delivery of the clean-up programme on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a strong supply base locally, future opportunities for the site workforce and sustainable economy in the far north of Scotland when decommissioning work dries up. See:

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has announced the award of the contract for the administration of the new Combined Nuclear Pension Plan (CNPP) to UKAEA. UKAEA will administer the scheme through its Pensions Office

in Thurso. The CNPP will deliver pensions provision for the nuclear decommissioning workforce across NDA sites, as and when sites are competed and employees are no longer eligible for existing public sector schemes. The NDA awarded the contract for the administration of the scheme through a rigorous process of open competition. See:

The independent Steering group set up to ensure the transparency of the consultation on the long term management of radioactive particles in the marine environment met on 25th April. At the meeting they reviewed the consultation held in January to ensure the completeness of options and the assessment criteria and discussed the next steps. The minutes of the meeting are available

Caithness General Hospital "Race For Life" got off to a great start with a donation of 500 from UKAEA Dounreay on behalf of the NDA. A group of nine nurses from the accident and emergency department took part in the race in Inverness, and so far have collected 15,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Bower Young Farmers are now competing in new rugby shirts following sponsorship from UKAEA Dounreay on behalf of the NDA. Bower Young Farmers currently have 35 members who regularly compete all over Scotland in stock judging, cake decorating, sewing, cattle and sheep dressing, speech making and curling to name a few.

Number of days since a lost time accident - 43 days
(No. of man-hours since a lost time accident - 592,798 hours)

Liquid metal destroyed in decommissioning Prototype Fast Reactor

Volume - 1136 tonnes
Percentage complete - 75 %

NB Plant currently shut down while major reactor components are jacked up out of their seal.

Research reactor reprocessing liquor conditioned as solid intermediate-level waste

Total no. of drums to date - 1879
Percentage complete to date - 37.6%
Conditioned in current financial year - 0

NB Plant currently shut down while spillage is cleaned up.

Solid Low Level Waste processed for disposal

Total so far this financial year - 1513 drums

Employment levels April May June
UKAEA - Full Time Equivalents 1172 1173 1160
Sub-contractors - number of personal passes 1236 1220 1206
Sub-contractors - number of gate-held passes 232 232 179


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