Frances McKie: The people of Caithness were recently told that it will be 300 years before the area around the fast reactor site at Dounreay will be “deemed safe” in terms of radioactive contamination. Caithness is only one of many communities in Scotland which have been chosen by London government for highly dangerous and destructive projects because these places and people were regarded as “remote and expendable”. In 1976, I read a Westminster document which recommended my home, Wigtownshire, as the best option for a UK high-level nuclear waste dump on the grounds that the local communities were few in number, unsophisticated and unlikely to protest effectively. This policy of course, currently and insanely, also applies to Faslane, near Glasgow. In 2020, Scotland is scarred from Cape Wrath to Kirkcudbright by similar lethal projects. In the 1970s and 80s, there were several particularly ruthless proposals to abuse Caithness and Orkney and the seas around them in this way. In 1977, despite tremendous opposition led by the famous Orkney historian, Ernest Marwick, and Orkney Islands Council, it was decided that a proposed uranium mine in the west mainland of Orkney should be approved if required, for what Westminster described as “the national interest”. Other proposals at that time included dumping nuclear waste in the seabed at “Stormy Bank” just west of the Orkney mainland. It is worth noting that The London Dumping Convention was an international treaty banning such dumping in international waters – so Orkney waters were nominated as a convenient evasion of that treaty. 2020 is not the first time British governments have sought to dishonour international agreements.
The National 14th Sept 2020 read more »
On behalf of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Dounreay Site Restoration (DSRL) has awarded a £7.5M clean-up contract to nuclear engineering contractor Nuvia and its partner Graham Construction. The contract was awarded through the Dounreay nuclear site’s decommissioning framework following a competitive tendering process. The advanced transition works (ATW) will be undertaken on the shaft and silo at the nuclear facility located on the north Caithness coast. The 65m deep shaft is assumed to be the deepest nuclear waste storage area in the world, while the wet silo is a subsurface, watertight reinforced concrete tank. Nuvia, along with Graham Construction, will begin the preliminary works required to prepare the Dounreay shaft for its emptying of legacy wastes and eventual decommissioning. The ATW will enable future construction and waste retrieval operations to go ahead.
Ground Engineering 15th Sept 2020 read more »