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Environmental and workforce concerns at Dounreay

Published: 6 Aug 2017 09:30

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority annual report highlights problems at nuclear site

In a letter to the Minister for Energy and Industry, the Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has called for urgent action to address significant concerns raised at the Dounreay nuclear site.

The letter was prompted by the publication of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Annual Report, which highlighted a number of environmental failings, as well as safety concerns, related to site management.

Ms Cunningham wrote to Richard Harrington MP, prior to visiting the nearby Caithness Nuclear Archives.

Ms Cunningham said:

As you may know, we share common interests in civil nuclear decommissioning and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The NDA is jointly responsible to UK and Scottish Ministers for its plans in Scotland. However, it is the UK Government, through BEIS and UKGI that sets the detailed financial and management performance framework for the NDA, and provides them with their funding. I would like to raise concerns that I have about performance at the Dounreay site, and seek your assurance that in its role as the lead sponsor of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the UK Government is giving sufficient attention to Dounreay.

There continues to be cause for concern in Dounreay’s environmental performance, with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) having to take action. In addition, the recently published NDA annual report presented in stark terms the lack of progress at Dounreay across a wide range of projects. While I am aware that the exotics movement programme has been a priority, this is still a disappointing state of affairs, and sits oddly with the planned reduction in workforce at Dounreay. Local stakeholders have told me that they cannot understand why the current substantial voluntary redundancy programme is in place where there is still so much work to complete on the site.

I would therefore ask that you give priority to securing improved performance at the Dounreay site, with continued consideration of local stakeholder views. It is vital that there is continued momentum in the safe and effective clean up at Dounreay. The people of the North of Scotland deserve nothing less.

ROSEANNA CUNNINGHAM