N E W S F E E D S >>>

Dounreay - UKAEA History - The First Fifty Years By Andy Munn

The First Fifty Years Intro

Dounreay Index

 Dounreay Web Site

Nuclear Industry Links


Major Changes

Reactor Development

Parting Of The Ways

A New Mission

UKAEA At Dounreay

Early Pictures Gallery

Dounreay Picture Gallery
Dounreay Site After Restoration
Dounreay From The Air

Aspects Of The Dounreay Site
The Old Runway
Fuel Cycle Area
AWA/RWE Descaling
Police Dogs
Training Facility
Materials Test Reactor

DCP and Store Extension
Waste Receipt Assay Characterisation & Supercompaction
Medical Isotopes
Environmental Monitoring Labs
Main Work Shops
RWE Nukem Headquarters
DFR - Dounreay Fast Reactor
Waste Shaft
Liquid Effluent Treatment Plant
PFR - Prototype Fast Reactor
Dounreay Foreshore
Dounreay Castle
Wet Silo
Whatings Hangar
Fire Brigade
Occupational Health

The First Apprentice

Fire & Ambulance Services

Early History On The Site
Dounreay Castle History

Dounreay Visitor Centre

Beach & Offshore Particles
Consultation On The Particles

Andy Munn

The Coming of Diversification
In the early 1960s important changes took place which were to lead in the 1990s to the privatisation of UKAEA’s commercial arm, AEA Technology. These changes did not alter its mission in the short term – its overriding nuclear mission remained the same – but they opened up new avenues of development which in turn gave rise to new pressures.

The main feature was the broadening of UKAEA’s powers to permit it to undertake non-nuclear research and development. Up to this point, UKAEA’s activities had been solely focussed on the production of nuclear weapons and the development of civil nuclear power. However, there was an inherent tendency for nuclear R&D to lead into non-nuclear activities, such as instrumentation, special steels and fabrication techniques and leading-edge heat transfer technology which found applications in industry.

The Dounreay Site - 2002

Other drivers for the diversification programme were the surplus capacity in the form of too many staff resulting from changes in the nuclear requirements and the new political agenda for Britain which UKAEA was called upon to assist. In keeping with the spirit of Harold Wilson’s “white heat of technology”, the Government wanted to align Britain’s public sector with the goals for industry.

It culminated in the 1965 Science and Technology Act, which gave UKAEA the power to undertake scientific research unconnected with atomic energy. The following year Walter Marshall became deputy director of Harwell and the pace of change quickened. UKAEA’s commercial development was becoming reality with the eventual formation of a business providing consultancy services and products to a wide range of industries including transport, chemicals and oil and gas.

In addition, the Energy Technology Support Unit was set up at Harwell to provide advice on energy options in response to issues arising from the growing energy crisis of the early 1970s.

Next Major Changes