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MAJOR PROJECTS TEAM TO SET UP HQ ON NEW
DECOMMISSIONING BUSINESS PARK
A new division of the UK Atomic Energy Authority set up to help deliver the environmental restoration of former nuclear research facilities such as Dounreay is to be based on a business park being developed in Caithness by the private sector.
UKAEA has signed an agreement with New Park Highland Ltd to become the first tenant of Forss Business and Technology Park, a former US Navy shore station being redeveloped as a business centre for decommissioning expertise with assistance from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, part of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network.
UKAEA hopes the move will seed the growth of a major centre for the decommissioning industry in the UK, as well as enabling it to work in closer partnership with companies involved in the decommissioning of Dounreay.
Approximately 140 members of
staff of currently based at Dounreay are expected to take up occupancy
at Forss in the summer. They are part of the UKAEA's new Major
Projects and Engineering Division, whose director Dr Colin Bayliss said:
"The decision by the private sector and CASE to invest in a business
park at Forss for companies involved in decommissioning is a good
example of the opportunities for economic development that are
being generated by the record levels of spending on
"I'm pleased that our new division was able to become the anchor tenant at Forss. It is good news for my staff, who will have excellent, modern accommodation from which they can bring to fruition the major decommissioning challenges at Dounreay and other sites. It is good news for the site because it reduces congestion when major construction work is happening. And it is good news for the local economy because it is the catalyst for further investment by the private sector in Forss to provide facilities for companies who win the contracts to deliver the major projects.
"Dounreay is the largest
single decommissioning project yet to be undertaken in the UK,
with some £95 million a year now being awarded in contracts. I'm
pleased that in working with the Highlands and Islands Enterprise
network to meet our own accommodation needs we have been able at
Brian Wilson, the Minister for Energy and Construction, also welcomed the announcement. He said: "The decision to redevelop the disused site at Forss underlines the opportunity the decommissioning of Dounreay represents and I'm pleased to see UKAEA working closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the private sector to make the most of these opportunities.
I hope the UKAEA's decision will encourage companies doing business at Dounreay to invest in the area." New Park Highland expects a range of local and national contracting companies to confirm their interest in taking space at Forss now that the tenancy of UKAEA's Major Projects and Engineering Division has been secured. Company chairman Murdo Mackenzie said: "The planned £6m investment in the development of Forss would not have been possible without the active participation and partnership approach of UKAEA and Highlands and Islands Enterprise."
Carroll Buxton, chief executive
of Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, said: "The development of the
Business and Technology Park at Forss demonstrates how an effective
partnership between UKAEA, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Network
and the private sector can create long term
Major Projects and Engineering Division was formed by UKAEA during 2002 to bring sharper focus to the delivery of major decommissioning projects at Dounreay and its other former nuclear research and development sites, including Harwell and Risley.
Dr Colin Bayliss joined UKAEA as director of planning and performance in 1997, having worked on major projects for a number of engineering consultancies and contractors. He was engineering director for the Channel Tunnel main contractor and was for two years technical and engineering director of Nirex. A board member of UKAEA, he has been based at Dounreay since August 1997.
The Dounreay Site Restoration Plan was published by UKAEA in October 2000 and identifies approximately 1500 projects required to restore the environment of the site over a 50-60 year period at a cost in the region of £4 billion. It can be viewed at www.ukaea.org.uk.
UKAEA is currently spending £140-150 million per annum on decommissioning Dounreay, which contributes an estimated £75 million a year to the economy of the Highlands. The value of contracts let each year is currently worth approximately £95 million.
The HIE network is contributing over £600,000 towards environmental improvements at Forss.