People living near Dounreay are being advised of changes to the arrangements in place for dealing with an emergency.
A lowering of the hazard at the redundant nuclear site means the emergency planning zone can be reduced.
Now the radius of the emergency planning zone is being reduced from 5km to just over 1km, with effect from 26 October 2009.
Nuclear sites are required to have emergency planning zones where the arrangements for an emergency are pre-planned.
This is defined by calculating the area beyond the perimeter of a site where radiation levels from the worst-case accident scenario could reach or exceed a level defined by statute (five millisieverts).
These calculations have been reviewed for Dounreay. Reductions in hazard and changes in practice mean the effects of the worst-case scenario are less than previously calculated.
The reduction in Dounreay’s emergency planning zone is being communicated in a letter to local residents from Colin Macdonald, emergency planning manager at DSRL.
“The zone was set many years ago when different operations were taking place,” he explained.
“DSRL has reviewed the accident scenarios that are credible today and recalculated the area that potentially could be affected.
“The number of households within the new, smaller zone for Dounreay is five, compared to more than 200 in the old planning zone.”
The letter thanks residents who now live outwith the planning zone for their co-operation over many years.
“I would also like to reassure you of our continuing priority towards the safety and wellbeing, not only of those who work at the site but also those who live and work nearby in the surrounding area, as we work towards completion of the site decommissioning programme.”