A planning application for the next stage in the decommissioning and restoration of Dounreay will go before Highland councillors for approval this week.
Dounreay Phase 3 involves the construction of a transit flask facility – containers for transporting nuclear waste – shaft and silo waste retrieval facilities and a temporary building for the retrieval of low level waste pits.
Also included in the plans are proposals for a facility to repackage waste, the demolition of all redundant buildings, land remediation, landscaping, and the dismantling of three nuclear reactors.
The waste from Dounreay’s low level waste (LLW) pits will be retrieved, processed and placed in containers ready for transfer to a new LLW facility on the east side.
A loading facility will be built for repackaging nuclear fuels and materials ready for transfer to Sellafield.
Meanwhile, most of the buildings on the site will be demolished, apart from some Higher Activity Waste stores pending a long term solution for this waste, and a modern office block in good condition.
The planning application also proposes a landscape strategy with flexibility for future land use with the aim of conserving and enhancing the ‘landscape, cultural and ecological value’ of the site. Scottish Natural Heritage has asked for survey work for the presence of bats and a protection plan for otters in the area.
Councillors are being asked to approve the proposals, many at concept stage only, subject to a number of conditions requesting much more detail.
It’s thought 300 jobs will be created at the peak of the Phase 3 decommissioning works, which will decrease as decommissioning is overtaken by demolition and remediation work.
A corresponding reduction of £10.8million local spend in the Dounreay area is also projected.
The application for the former fast reactor research site in the north of Scotland will be heard at the council’s northern planning applications committee in Inverness tomorrow.