Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has requested Highland Council to restart the planning application process to build facilities for the disposal of low level radioactive waste from decommissioning the site.
The planning application and Environmental Statement were originally submitted to the Highland Council on June 30, 2006. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency requested an extension to the consultation process until July 2008 to allow it to review in detail the supporting information prior to responding to the Highland Council. Dounreay agreed to this extension.
DSRL is seeking permission to construct a series of shallow engineered vaults adjacent to the existing licensed site, a grouting plant within the existing site, an administration block and associated infrastructure. The facilities are required for disposal of up to 175,000 cubic metres of solid low level waste which is expected to be generated during the decommissioning of the site. The vaults will be built in three phases, with each phase being built as required.
A vigorous waste minimisation programme continues at Dounreay, and the success of this programme will determine whether all three phases will be required. Low level waste contains less than 0.01 per cent of the radioactivity in all solid radioactive waste at Dounreay but makes up 80-90 per cent of the total volume.
The cost to design, construct, operate and close the facility is around £110 million and would be required for the lifespan of the decommissioning programme.
During the period June 2006 to April 2008 DSRL undertook further site investigation work and a design review which resulted in some amendments to the original plan. An Environmental Statement addendum details those amendments and assesses the resulting changes to the environmental impacts associated with the proposed development. The Environmental Statement addendum is available on the DSRL website. During this period DSRL has continued to keep regulators and local residents informed as the project progressed.
DSRL managing director Simon Middlemas, said: “This disposal facility is vital to the decommissioning of the Dounreay site. DSRL understands why SEPA required the time to review the proposal in detail. We are pleased to be able to restart the planning application process which is necessary for us to move forward with decommissioning Dounreay.”
Subject to obtaining the required consents, the facility is due to come into operation in 2014.