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Party Conference Season 2005


UKAEA Dounreay today set out its ambition to become a world-class organisation capable of competing with international contractors to win the right to clean-up Britain's nuclear legacy.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Scottish Conservatives in Dumfries, a delegation from Dounreay described how the site has been transformed since the end of the 1950s experiment in fast reactor technology and a major overhaul of its infrastructure and safety standards.

Conservative leader Michael Howard was among senior party figures briefed by the Dounreay team at the Dumfries conference. Mr Howard is seen here with, from left, June Love, who is spearheading public participation in the options for managing particles in the marine environment, John Deighan of the T & G union at Dounreay, and Scottish Tory Party chairman and shadow Scotland Secretary Peter Duncan.

Peter Duncan MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, said: "Decommissioning sites such as Dounreay and Chapelcross is an opportunity for Scotland and the UK to lead the world in the exciting new opportunities of nuclear clean-up. The team at Dounreay has an ambitious vision to become an international contractor capable not only of winning work at Dounreay but elsewhere, too. That can only be good for the Scottish economy, and I fully support their ambitions."

A new generation of engineers and scientists is establishing Dounreay's reputation for excellence in nuclear decommissioning as they set about cleaning up the hazardous legacy of Britain's post-war technological dream.

UKAEA believes the new skills base in environmental restoration now being developed at Dounreay is a major asset to Scotland and Britain - and one that can help transform UKAEA into a competitive British contractor capable of fending off companies in the US and elsewhere who want to take over the work.

A joint UKAEA and trade union team from the site is meeting senior political figures from all Scotland's main parties to raise support for the new era of opportunity at Dounreay and the ambitious plans of UKAEA to see it develop fully under British-owned management.

Today the Dounreay team hopes to build on the success of meetings at the recent annual conferences of the Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrat parties when the Scottish Conservatives gather in Dumfries. The SNP's annual conference is in the autumn.

Norman Harrison, director of UKAEA at Dounreay, said: "The Dounreay of today is an asset that Scotland and the UK can be proud of. The commitment of today's UKAEA to the highest standards of safety and environmental protection is second to none and will not be bettered by our competitors. I want to build the broadest possible support for that, and ensure Scotland and Britain gets the full benefit of our tremendous potential here at Dounreay."

John Deighan, a T & G union official at Dounreay, said: "We believe no-one is better placed to safely dismantle a plant like Dounreay than the people who are doing the job today. That's why we are standing shoulder to shoulder at the party conferences to deliver the unequivocal message to our politicians that British is best."

Dounreay Team
At The Labour Conference

Some of Scotland's most senior politicians were briefed on progress with decommissioning Dounreay when they met up with a UKAEA and trade union team from Dounreay at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Dundee.

First Minister Jack McConnell, MP Martin O'Neill who chairs the Trade and Industry Select Committee, Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson and Deputy Environment Minister Lewis Macdonald were among those updated by the delegation.

First Minister Jack McConnell with (from left) Dounreay communications manager Colin Punler, trade union veteran Derrick Milnes and John Deighan of the T & G union at Dounreay.

Dounreay communications manager Colin Punler and T & G site rep John Deighan were able to brief senior figures on UKAEA's ambition to compete internationally for decommissioning work, its continuing commitment to train apprentices in nuclear clean-up work and efforts to identify alternative work to replace those lost as decommissioning progresses, as well as explaining the background to the current burst of media interest in events at Dounreay many years ago.

Other Ministers briefed by the Dounreay team included Douglas Alexander, Peter Peacock, Tom McCabe and Andy Kerr, as well as MPE Catherine Stihler, MP George Foulkes, MSP John Home Robertson and STUC general secretary Bill Spiers.