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Catherine Stihler - Euro MP Visits Dounreay

Euro-MP Catherine Stihler visited Dounreay on May 11 to see the progress being made to dismantle and clean up the former experimental reactor establishment.

Mrs Stihler toured the site with UKAEA environmental programmes manager Mark Liddiard before visiting the decommissioning trials and test facility at Janetstown near Thurso. There, she was briefed by UKAEA's international collaboration manager Dr Peter Thompson on international being forged with industry and educational establishments in the UK and overseas. She also toured the facility with Paul Hosking, Alstec's lead engineer for the Alkali Metal Residue Recovery alliance at Dounreay.

The test and trials facility has been developed by a private company, JGC Engineering and Technical Services, and is being used by UKAEA and decommissioning contractors such as Alstect to develop the techniques for destroying the site's inventory of liquid metal.

A major expansion plan supported by the European Regional Development Fund was announced recently and includes the construction of a Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation Centre for PhD students through the North Highland College and UHI Millennium Institute.

The first module in a join European masters degree in nuclear technology and decommissioning is to due to begin at the Jospeh Fournier University at Grenoble, France, later this year, with the next stage due to begin through UHI next year. This follows the extension of links between UKAEA and its French counterpart CEA to develop common European standards in training and education.

Mrs Stihler was also briefed on the potential of the decommissioning sector in Caithness to export the skills it has developed during the early phase of the clean-up at Dounreay.

These include opportunities to tender for work in the decommissioning of other fast reactors around the world, and the large decommissioning potential in countries of the former Soviet Union.

UKAEA's efforts to raise awareness among political stakeholders of the site clean-up programme and the opportunities for business and skills development continues this week when a joint management and union team attends the annual conference of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party in Dundee.

UKAEA Dounreay is manning a stand at all the major party conferences in Scotland this year.