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New site closure plan begins to take shape

New site closure plan begins to take shape

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd is updating its workforce this week about the changing shape of the site closure plan and efforts to bring new industry to the area.

The existing programme is being significantly reworked to bring it into line with an annual cap on funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority announced earlier this year.

DSRL managing director Simon Middlemas is meeting groups of staff today and yesterday to explain how this affects the rate of planned job losses at the site.

He is also updating workers on efforts to attract new industry to Caithness and the effect of new employment legislation on how the rundown in staff is managed.

It will take DSRL planners until December to review approximately 14,000 separate pieces of work still to be done to complete the site closure. The headline messages emerging so far include:

• A reduction in the size of DSRL this year of 102 posts (93 identified so far)

• Further reductions of 30 posts in 2011/12 and 50 posts in 2012/13

• A delay in the start of work to retrieve waste from the shaft and silo

• Integration of a number of separate projects for decommissioning the site’s two fast breeder reactors

• A cheaper and innovative alternative to the £100 million treatment plant and store proposed for the bulk of the site’s intermediate-level waste.

• Fluctuations in the target date for completion between 2025 and 2039, but likely to settle around 2032 by December, with some tightening of the timescale expected over the following 12 months.

A dedicated team of DSRL staff is working with Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership on opportunities for new industry to replace the 1700 or so jobs that will be shed at Dounreay.

The main focus of the work involves:

• Sharing of resource plans with companies gearing up to expand into marine energy and offshore oil and gas decommissioning

• Identifying energy-intensive businesses that can be persuaded to relocate near the proposed Pentland Firth tidal power station

• Supporting a community bid for a share of international work in materials testing and opportunities in the radiopharmaceuticals supply chain.

• Redeployment opportunities in other parts of the Babcock International Group of companies.

• Spin-out businesses from existing site services.

• Identifying opportunities for businesses in UK-wide service contracts to the NDA estate.

Simon Middlemas said: “We’ve shown in the last few years how much value we can deliver for £150 million a year, with the rate of demolition running at almost 100 sq ft per day. I’m confident the changes we are making will keep us firmly on track to maintain a pace of decommissioning that is both safe and quick, and gets the most out of every £ that is available to us.”