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Dounreay site available for reuse in the year 2333

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Dounreay was the UK site for fast reactor research from the 1950s to 1990s

The site of a Scottish nuclear power facility should be available for other uses in 313 years’ time, according to a new report.

Dounreay, near Thurso, was the UK site for the development of fast reactor research from 1955 to 1994.

The facility on the north Caithness coast is in the process of being closed down, demolished and cleaned up.

However, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said it would be 2333 before the 148-acre site is safe for reuse.

The date forms part of the authority’s newly-published draft strategy.

They said “credible options” for the site in future will be developed over the next two years.

Buildings to be demolished include the distinctive dome-shaped Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR).

Important stages in the removal of radioactive material from the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) are expected to be competed over the next three years.

Satellite launches

A target date has also been set for the clean-up of a highly contaminated area called the Shaft.

Built in the 1950s, it plunges 65.4m (214.5ft) below ground.

Radioactive waste was disposed there from 1959 to 1977, when an explosion ended the practice.

Waste is to be removed from the Shaft by 2029, according to the NDA report.

The document also sets out investment made so far aimed at helping Caithness and Sutherland adjust to the closure of Dounreay, a major employer for the two areas.

The NDA has spent £8m over the past year supporting socio-economic projects, including upgrades to Scrabster and Wick harbours.

It is also supporting plans for the Sutherland Space Hub, which could facilitate up to 12 launches a year of small satellites into space from a site near Tongue.

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