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Scotland's Deputy First Minister visited Dounreay on April 16th and learned how local engineering expertise is being used to help decommission the landmark Dounreay Fast Reactor. Jim Wallace, who is also Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning and MSP for Orkney, toured the famous Dome of Discovery and met Alex and Pat Grant, whose company Norfrost Technologies Ltd has manufactured a device for taking a sample of the crust on the liquid metal coolant.

Pictured before stepping inside the famous sphere of the Dounreay Fast Reactor are local MP John Thurso, Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, site director Norman Harrison; Norfrost joint managing directors Alex Grant and Pat Grant, and Carroll Buxton, chief executive of Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise. Local MSP Jamie Stone joined the visit later.

The tool has been lowered into position and is expected to take the sample in the near future. The results will provide information that is essential for the safe destruction of the liquid metal coolant. Mr Wallace was accompanied by John Thurso MP and Jamie Stone MSP.

Inside the access airlock to the dome, reactor decommissioning manager John Booth (right) explains how local firms are helping to meet one of the biggest decommissioning challenges in Britain to (from left) John Thurso MP, Deputy First Minister and Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister Jim Wallace; and Norman Harrison, site director

Also present was Carroll Buxton, chief executive of Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise.  Site director Norman Harrison, who hosted the visit, said: "The Norfrost contract is a good example of how decommissioning at Dounreay is opening up new markets for local engineering expertise, both here at the site and elsewhere in the UK and abroad as more of the old nuclear technology is dismantled. It's a real win-win situation."