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Site Restoration Plan
24 September 2001
UKAEA WELCOMES REPORT BY RWMAC
ON DOUNREAY SITE RESTORATION PLAN
The Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee, RWMAC, has issued its advice to Ministers on the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan published by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
Mr Peter Welsh, UKAEA site director at Dounreay, said: “We welcome the report and the endorsement of the work we have done to date to develop a single and complete strategy to decommission the site.
“We share RWMAC’s view that restoring the environment of Dounreay is a major and challenging undertaking. Its delivery will require not only innovative solutions on the part of UKAEA but significant input from regulators and stakeholders as well.
“Historically, it is true that decommissioning work at Dounreay did not proceed as quickly as it might have, given the number of different priorities that existed at the site in previous decades. But over recent years we have significantly increased our resources and these are now firmly focussed on restoring the Dounreay site. We are beginning to make significant and demonstrable progress towards the progressive dismantling of the existing facilities on the site and the development and construction of appropriate plant and facilities to manage and treat the wastes arising.
“Since 1998, we have recruited, or are in the process of recruiting, more than 400 additional staff. Our spending is now running at £140-150 million a year, almost double what it was a few years ago. Our withdrawal from other markets puts UKAEA in a much stronger position to meet the challenges of site restoration, which is now our sole objective for Dounreay.
“Decommissioning a site as complex as Dounreay is a challenge for UKAEA, regulators and stakeholders. We are committed to achieving this in a way that is transparent and enables stakeholders to play their full part.”
The Dounreay Site Restoration Plan was published by UKAEA in October 2000 and can be viewed at www.ukaea.org.uk . It identifies 1500 projects required to decommission Dounreay over the next 50-60 years at a cost in the region of £4 billion.
Dounreay contains a unique collection of reactors, fuel and waste-handling plants, and waste disposal facilities. Over the next 15-20 years, up to 20 new plants will need to be built at Dounreay to enable these facilities to be decommissioned.
D1206, the last reprocessing plant at Dounreay, is now being prepared for decommissioning following the announcement on July 18 by Energy Minister Brian Wilson on the outcome of public consultation about options for managing fuel from Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor.