Almost a million tonnes of rubble from the demolition of Dounreay is set to be turned into hardcore and used in the remediation of the former nuclear research site.
An area of land at the eastern end of the site has been earmarked for the recycling operation.
Some 30,000 tonnes of rubble from earlier demolition work is already stored there.
Up to a million tonnes more will be generated over the next decade or so as the rest of the site is flattened.
It’s estimated that up to 70 per cent of this material will be suitable for crushing and re-use as hardcore and backfill.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd wants to use this material to infill holes in the ground left by decommissioning.
It would also be used to cover areas of ground that were contaminated during the nuclear research and which will be allowed to decay naturally as part of the site closure.
The length of the site closure programme means some of the rubble will need to be stored for longer than three years before it can be re-used, so a permit for the storage area will be required from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency under current waste regulation.
Alex Anderson, head of waste management at DSRL, said: “Re-using the demolition rubble will avoid transport and disposal costs running into millions of pounds.
“We have worked closely with SEPA to identify the appropriate authorisations required for a recycling operation on this scale and we expect to submit an application later this year.”
A separate application will made for material excavated during construction of the new low-level waste disposal vaults.