Dounreay, which was once the UKís center for fast reactor research, is now Scotlandís largest decommissioning project. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) is the site licence company responsible for the clean-up and demolition of Britainís former centre of fast reactor research and development. DSRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, a consortium of Cavendish Nuclear, Jacobs and AECOM. It is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to deliver the site closure program.
The Royal Naval Nuclear Propulsion Test and Training Establishment is located at Downreay on the northwest coast of Scotland. The facility was officially called HMS Vulcan, because in the Royal Navy a shore Establishment is commissioned as one of Her Majesty's Ships, and officers and ratings assigned duty at the facility are recorded as being appointed to HMS Vulcan. The shore-based facility is where prototype nuclear reactors for use on submarines are tested. The original prototype of the Trident submarine reactor is at HMS Vulcan.
The Dounreay site was opened in 1955 for the development of fast reactors. Three reactors were built on the site, the Dounreay Fast Reactor, DFR ; Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) and the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) are now closed. The core programme of UKAEA work on the site comprises the decommissioning of the PFR and DFR and the reprocessing of the PFR fuel. It is expected that £500 million will be spent on this programme of work over the text ten years.
The UKAEA site is 135 acres and approximately 1,400 people worked on the Dounreay site. With additional Dounreay land adjoining the site the total acreage was 1243. AEA Technology is the main tenant on the UKAEA site and operates commercial activities including decommissioning, health physics, descaling of North Sea oil production pipes and the Silver II waste handling process. The other tenants include Procord and BNFL. About £30 million per year goes into the local economy as wages and salaries. Dounreay represents 20% of Caithness GDP.
W.S. Atkins and Partners were appointed to provide additional management support at the site and will be part of a Dounreay integrated management team.
Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) was the first operational nuclear reactor in Scotland and achieved criticality in 1958. It was built to test the effects of radiation on different materials and operated for 11 years. The demolition of the reactor building will be a major skyline change for Dounreay and will signify another major hazard reduction milestone at one of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authorityís (NDA) sites. A 3-year contract was awarded 14 December 2018 to Cavendish Nuclear and its partners, local firm JGC Engineering, KDC and Frazer-Nash Consultancy, for the dismantling of the reactor block and demolition of the structure. This is the culmination of a decade-long project to remove the internal structures from the reactor and its support buildings including a fuel storage pond, waste drum store and post-irradiation examination cells.
The companies responsible for decommissioning Dounreay on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have set out proposals to ensure long-term employment for their workforce after the site closes. Around 1,100 Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) staff taking apart the former research site were told 16 October 2018 about a series of future commitments including the offer of a job with one of the companies behind the siteís parent body organisation Cavendish Dounreay Partnership.
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