Gone in 90 seconds

It’s already been cut from 100 years to 25 years. Now, the timescale for cleaning up and knocking down Dounreay has been accelerated to just 90 seconds in a new video showing how the site will look when decommissioning is complete.

The animated flyover shows how the site will disappear over the coming years as more of the fast reactor experiment is cleaned out and demolished.

Demolition of the site’s fuel fabrication plant earlier this month took the total to 100 facilities to have been cleared so far.

An intensive phase of work over the next decade or so will see major facilities such as reactor buildings and reprocessing plants also disappear from the skyline.

By the time the clean-up is complete, all that is likely to remain in place are secure stores for up to 15,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level waste and fuels from the clean-up programme.

Up to 175,000 cubic metres of low-level waste from the clean-up is earmarked for disposal in a series of adjacent vaults currently the subject of a planning application.

A final decision has yet to be taken on whether to keep the contaminated 1950s sphere that housed the first of the site’s three reactors.

The current programme agreed with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns Dounreay, is for the clean-up to be complete by 2032.

Site contractor UKAEA, supported by its business partners AMEC and CH2MHILL, is bringing forward proposals to accelerate this timescale further to 2025.

Site programme manager Alistair Macdonald of UKAEA said: "There are overwhelming safety, security and environmental reasons for decommissioning Dounreay as quickly as it is safe to do so.

We’ve shown several times already that we can complete the clean-up on an earlier timescale and we’re confident we can improve our planning estimates even further to bring in the completion date from its current position.

"I don’t think we will ever reduce it to 90 seconds but the video does give the public a good impression of our focus on accelerating the clean-up and managing the wastes in a way that makes them safe and secure for future generations."