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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

A New Mission
For good reason the focus on site restoration came later to the Dounreay site. It was not until 1994 that the PFR had shut-down and reprocessing, both for commercial customers and its own fuels, continued well into the decade. However a safety incident in 1998, which led to a joint safety audit by the Health and Safety Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, was the catalyst for a Government decision to cease commercial reprocessing, and later to encompass all reprocessing at Dounreay. Though painful at the time these decisions did allow the site to concentrate on its primary mission of decommissioning.

DFR Foundation - 12 May 1955

Since 1994 UKAEA has amassed considerable experience in decommissioning and site remediation - probably more than any other nuclear body in Europe. A total of 14 reactors out of 26 have now been completely removed as have several major radioactive facilities. In addition, it has successfully kept the level of its liabilities under control with a steady reduction over ten years.

At the same time, its management of the fusion programme has gained plaudits from its European partners, a good omen for the future fast-track development of this exciting technology.

It is this experience which will put UKAEA in a good position for the next major change in its development. Following a five-yearly review of UKAEA in 2001 the Government proposed the formation of a national body to be responsible for all the UK’s civil nuclear liabilities. A White Paper was subsequently published and the Energy Bill enacted in July 2004. Its measures include the formation of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, for whom both UKAEA and BNFL will manage the sites as contractors, though competition is expected after an initial period.

UKAEA faces the start of its next 50 years with confidence. Its major strength during the first fifty years was its workforce’s ability to innovate and adapt to change. It is this strength that will ensure its continuing success during the next fifty.

Start The First Fifty Years Intro