Dounreay is platform for Scots clean-up expertise

Dounreay is platform for Scots clean-up expertise

Scottish companies are marketing their expertise in nuclear decommissioning to delegates from seven countries that are in Scotland to learn how the country is dismantling its nuclear heritage.

The visit is being seen as an opportunity for companies in Scotland to gain a bigger share of a global market worth hundreds of billions over the next few decades.

It is centred on Scotland’s largest nuclear decommissioning project – the £2.6 billion closure of the fast reactor research site at Dounreay in the Highlands.

Delegates yesterday attended an exhibition by 19 companies involved in the site clean-up.

Today they stepped inside the plants being dismantled at Dounreay, where three different reactors and a variety of fuel-handling, chemical and waste plants were tested in the 20th century.

The group is drawn from countries in a decommissioning network set up two years ago by the International Atomic Energy Authority to share expertise and experience globally.

The visit is a joint effort by the IAEA, UK Trade and Investment’s branch in Vienna and Scottish Development International, the Government-back inward investment agency.

Paul Dinner, of the IAEA, said the group consisted of engineers and scientists, many of whom are in the throes of preparing to decommission their own plants at home.

“Dounreay is a great opportunity for them to see how decommissioning works in practice and the level of planning and co-ordination that is needed to make it successful,” he explained.

“What we have seen here is the unique integration of different sizes of companies in a single programme designed to take the site right through to closure.”

The delegates have come from nuclear decommissioning organisations in Brazil, South Africa, Croatia, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

The visit stems from a trade mission to Vienna lead by Scottish Development International to establish commercial links with Scottish links.

“I’m very pleased the IAEA took up our invitation to visit Scotland and Dounreay in particular because we have a great story to tell,” said Murray Bainbridge of Scottish Enterprise.

“We’ve three civil nuclear sites in Scotland being decommissioned at the present time and the skills and expertise being developed at each is a great commercial asset we can export to other countries.

“Our objective is to impress upon these countries the expertise that exists here and which can help them to safely clean up and dismantle their own legacies.”