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Caithness News Bulletins February 2008



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Multi-Million Pound National Nuclear Archive To Be Based At Wick
The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency has announced that it will invest £8 million in plans to create the UK’s National Nuclear Archive (NNA) in, Wick Caithness, Scotland.

The NNA will potentially hold between 20 and 30 million digital records primarily concerning the history, development and decommissioning of the UK’s civil nuclear industry since the 1940s. The money will be invested over three years and will help get the £17 million project off the ground.

Archive Picture Gallery

The NNA is being proposed in response to the NDA’s statutory obligation to manage public records, keeping them safe and making them more accessible to the public. Around 20 specialist jobs will be created by the project and the building will also provide a new home for the Wick-based North Highland Archive, which is much in need of additional storage space.

Terry Selby, NDA strategy director, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment for the UK’s National Nuclear Archive.

“This will be the first time that this amount of valuable information –useful to researchers, academics and businesses - will be brought together under one roof. We want to create a world-class, internationally renowned facility for records archive and ultimately knowledge management.”

Mr Selby added that the archive would benefit the local community. “We are hoping to get local schools and colleges involved in using, even sponsoring educational projects”, he said. “It could also even be used as an international conference centre, boosting the local economy.”

Wick Highland councillor and chairman of Education Culture and Sport committee councillor Bill Fernie said: "This announcement is very good news for Caithness and we welcome the NDA's ongoing commitment to the project. I am delighted that the increasingly successful North Highland Archive currently based at the council's library in Wick will get rehoused in a state of the art facility with the technology and access to local records that visiting researchers are looking for.  In the last few years the numbers of people visiting the local archives at Wick to research history and family records have been increasing but the building is not large enough and is not easily able to be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act requirements.  All of that will change with the new facility. Many people will be visiting to use the facility and the proximity to the airport is a major bonus."

Land near the airport, currently owned by Highland Council as its commitment to the project has been earmarked as a potential site.