Two small areas of radioactive contamination have been detected during a survey of grazing land adjacent to the former nuclear research site at Dounreay.
They were excavated and removed to the site for analysis. One was identified as a "minor" particle of fast reactor fuel and the other as soil contaminated with radioactivity. The finds were 5-30cm below the surface and covered by vegetation, indicating they are most likely to be historic in origin.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd is carrying out an investigation. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has been informed.
The field where the contamination was detected forms part of a 44-hectare site zoned for the construction of a disposal facility for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.Previously, this area was earmarked for construction of the European Demonstration Reprocessing Plant.
The survey is to establish a baseline of radioactivity levels prior to the start of construction of the low level waste facility.
The survey is due for completion by the end of August.