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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 11

19th September 2007

Safety and environmental performance is a way of life for staff and contractors working at Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR). They have clocked up a thousand days without a lost time accident - a commendable achievement given the enormous range of decommissioning work undertaken at the plant and the mix of companies involved. This equates to over 1.3 million man-hours.

Dr Jim McCafferty, PFR decommissioning manager, said: "The entire team at PFR, both UKAEA and its contractors, recognise that safety must be at the forefront of everything we do. Decommissioning a plant designed in the 1960s brings with it many challenges and maintaining a safe working platform to do this is essential for everyone involved. I can't praise the team enough for taking this on board."

A new plant to clean up redundant equipment has been handed over to the Prototype Fast Reactor decommissioning team. The sodium inventory disposal facility, which recently completed active commissioning, was designed, built, and safely commissioned by the Alkali Metal Residue Removal alliance comprising of UKAEA, JGC, Alstec and Jacobs. This symbolises a major step forward, as it provides UKAEA with the capacity to start cleaning sodium and NaK-contaminated components stored at the PFR plant. See:

A third of all employment in the Caithness region remains dependent on the decommissioning activities at Dounreay, according to new research by Aberdeen University (more information at: The findings were presented to a conference on economic regeneration in Thurso on September 14 attended by Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks and Scotland Office Minister David Cairns (see: Prior to the conference, Mr Wicks launched a new self-help scheme to assist the Dounreay workforce make the transition when their current skills are no longer required for decommissioning ( Meanwhile, officials at Dounreay are looking at a range of site services that could be relocated off-site and nurtured to form stand-alone businesses with a range of different customers (see:

Dounreay has taken delivery from France of natural uranium, irradiated in a zero energy research reactor during the UK's fast reactor research and development programme. The material was loaned to France in 1989 under European collaboration on fast reactor research and has now been returned to UKAEA. It is now being stored alongside similar material at Dounreay.

The cargo was transported in compliance with the normal requirements for such material but the site has acknowledged it did not comply with an additional control, known as licence instrument 47. This was imposed by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in 1997 and requires the prior agreement of NII to the movement of irradiated material to the site.

The Redfern Inquiry into human tissue analysis in the UK nuclear industry has announced contact details for relatives and other interested parties. Members of the public can get in touch with the independent inquiry by writing to the Redfern Inquiry, 7th Floor, 1 Byrom Place, Manchester, M3 3HG; emailing contact[AT]; faxing 0161 837 1569 or calling 0161 837 1554.

The Inquiry is making preliminary visits to a number of UK facilities and is at Dounreay on Wednesday, September 19. The team will meet members of Dounreay Stakeholder Group in the evening.

Management from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine spent a week at Dounreay during September, learning how Britain is decommissioning its fast reactor programme. The primary interest of the delegation was to share and compare the experience of Chernobyl in managing the change from reactor operations to decommissioning. This includes learning from the steps being taken at Dounreay to retain a suitably skilled and qualified workforce for the duration of the decommissioning programme and how the local economy can be sustained beyond closure. More:

The UKAEA Joint Safety Reps Forum, covering the sites at Harwell, Winfrith and Dounreay, have undertaken inspections at PFR, the silo and the Nuttalls/Ritchies project at the shaft, with a report issued to management. Dounreay's health and safety feedback manager Bill Stockho welcomed the reps to the site and discussed improvements in safety. Forum Chairman Peter Simpson said the team was impressed by the work being undertaken at PFR and the shaft, and by the high commitment to safety shown by staff.

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