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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 10

7th September 2006

Dounreay has passed an important decommissioning milestone by successfully cleaning up and dismantling the first of the heavily-shielded facilities in the fuel cycle laboratories, known as the Hotspur cell.

The shaft/silo section of the FCA decommissioning team has successfully moved the wet silo crane cover building in the first phase of the programme to empty the historical radioactive waste storage facility. More:

Work is underway to begin the demolition of redundant offices at Dounreay that served as the headquarters of UKAEA's former fuel services business during the 1990s. The area around the D6000 block has been cordoned off so that soft-stripping can begin ahead of its planned demolition during the winter.

Investigation of a higher than expected radiation reading detected during an underwater survey of a redundant fuel storage pond has identified a hollow metal tube on the floor of the pond. The tube measures approximately 45cm in length and 4.5cm in diameter. It poses no risk to workers in its present position because it is beneath 12ft of water that blocks the radiation. Plans are being made to remove the tube for further examination. The survey was carried out as part of preparations to decommission the pond adjacent to the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor. It was used for the storage of spent fuel between 1964 and 2001. See:

UKAEA with its alliance partners, CH2MHILL and AMEC, have submitted a response to the draft socio-economic strategy for Caithness and North Sutherland being led by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network. Socio-economics is a key priority for the Dounreay management team and all staff working on the site. A project team has been set up to concentrate on this crucial area and to ensure its integration with the site's work programme. A copy of UKAEA's response can be found at:'s_response_to_draft_socio-economic_strategy.pdf (pdf 25kb)

Dounreay's Davie Alexander has been appointed as the chairman of the UKAEA trade union co-ordinating committee, taking over from Peter Simpson. Davie has worked at Dounreay for 31 years, transferring to Johnson Control in 1995 and moving back to UKAEA in 2001, and is the senior AMICUS representative within UKAEA. He is also a member of AMICUS regional and national sector committees within the energy and utilities section of the union. When he's not working on the site as Contract Project Supervisor or carrying out his union duties he is a well-known face in the music scene locally.

Davie said: "It's a great honour to have been elected into this position. Peter has done a tremendous job over the past few years and I aim to ensure that the TUCC will continue to work together for the benefit of all union members. With all the changes the industry is going through the unions have an important role to play and we are actively working with the company to ensure the best possible relations between UKAEA and its employees."

Dounreay once again was the location for the child safety awareness event Safe Highlanders on September 5/6. Around 335 primary seven pupils from Caithness and North Sutherland attended the event, sponsored by Caithness Community Safety Action Team and UKAEA, at Dounreay Visitor Centre over the next two days.

UKAEA has challenged a number of inaccurate and misleading statements about radioactive particles that appeared in an article in the Daily Telegraph on September 4. See:
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has also dismissed as untrue claims that it is advising people not to take children onto the beach at Sandside. See

Considerable progress has been made in establishing UKAEA as a leading player in the commercial nuclear decommissioning market. That is the key achievement during a year in which UKAEA improved decommissioning performance at its sites and built partnerships with the private sector. See:

Mr Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, visited Dounreay on August 23. He met acting site director Simon Middlemas and spoke with trade union representatives before being shown around a waste management facility where nuclear fuel is stored.

Dental equipment no longer used at Dounreay is on its way to the Gambia. It forms part of a shipment of aid being sent from Scotland by a local charity. Changes in the pattern of dental care mean the equipment at Dounreay became surplus to requirements and has being removed as part of the demolition of the former nuclear research establishment.

Blythswood, a Christian charity which sends relief aid to many different parts of the world, uplifted the equipment from the site as part of its collection service in the Highlands. The work of the charity depends on donations from individuals and businesses, and the equipment will now provide years of useful service to the people of the Gambia.

Number of days since a lost time accident - 76 days
(No. of man-hours since a lost time accident - 1,047,736 hours)

Liquid metal destroyed in decommissioning Prototype Fast Reactor

Volume: 1,136 tonnes
Percentage complete: 75 %

NB Plant currently shut down while major reactor components are jacked up out of their seal. SDP expected to start in May 2006.

Research reactor high active liquor conditioned as solid intermediate-level waste

Total no. of drums to date: 1,879
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: 2,272 drums

Weight of Eutectic NaK processed at DFR

Weight: 618 kilograms

Employment levels

UKAEA - Full Time Equivalents

Sub-contractors - number of personal passes

Sub-contractors - number of gate-held passes


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