Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd today welcomed local authority planning approval for a £110m investment in new facilities for managing low-level radioactive waste.
Highland Council’s area planning committee conditionally approved an application by DSRL to build a series of disposal vaults adjacent to the site.
The new facility is needed for the safe, long-term management up to 175,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste from decommissioning of the fast reactor experiment at Dounreay. It is expected to create 100 jobs during construction and 12 during operation.
Today’s decision, which is subject to final approval by Scottish Ministers, is the culmination of a decade of research, development and public consultation on the options for dealing with this type of waste at Dounreay.
“Waste is the product of decommissioning and its management to the highest standards of safety and environmental protection is an essential part of closing down this site,” explained DSRL managing director Simon Middlemas.
“Low-level waste is by far the biggest volume of waste we have to deal with, so I am very pleased the council has approved our plans for a modern, engineered facility that can take this waste safely and allow the decommissioning of the site to continue.
“I recognise and understand the anxiety of some of our residential neighbours about the use of this facility. I can assure them we are committed to continuing our discussions with them to ensure this facility is constructed with minimum impact.
Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2011. Subject to other regulatory consent, the facility is scheduled to operate from 2014 until decommissioning is complete in 2025, when the underground facility will be capped and the surface restored.
Today’s ruling, because it involves a planning application accompanied by an Environmental Statement, now goes to Scottish Ministers for consideration.
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