News story

Revision to Dounreay site closure plans

The consortium in charge of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd is revising its programme to accommodate changes being made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The NDA awarded a contract in April 2012 to Cavendish Dounreay Partnership for clean-up and shutdown of the site. At the time the NDA was seeking comments on the credible options for the future of nuclear materials at Dounreay.

Subsequently the decision was taken to transfer the nuclear materials to Sellafield. This means funding is no longer required in the later years of the programme to build high-security stores. Instead, funding is required in the earlier years to meet the costs of packaging and transport of the fuel.

DSRL management are briefing staff this week on the work now underway to accommodate these changes in the clean-up programme within the funding available from the NDA.

DSRL Managing Director Mark Rouse said:

Removing the requirement to modernise the stores at Dounreay and replacing it with a programme to transfer the fuel to Sellafield starting this year, removes both the modernisation costs from the later years of the decommissioning programme and substantial security costs from long-term care and maintenance of the site.

But it does require significant preparation and handling operations, and will add transport and associated security costs in the next few years of the decommissioning programme.

In order to insert the removal of the fuel into the earlier years of the programme and release the several hundred million pounds needed to fund this, some other work that had been planned for this period needs to be moved out to later years.

A new plan showing how the fuels removal programme integrates with the rest of the decommissioning work should be ready by the autumn 2014. DSRL expects no reduction in supply chain spend and will be looking to place substantial additional new packages of work into the supply chain over a longer period of time than the original contract award plan shows.

In short, this is a ‘spend to save’ measure. Although the fuels consolidation and removal programme adds several hundred million pounds to the bill for Dounreay during its decommissioning phase, it will remove even more in security costs from its long term care and maintenance.

Meanwhile, the NDA will look to utilise its portfolio management process, where efficiencies and savings made across its estate can be re-allocated to other projects where they represent value for money and progress the NDA’s mission, to assist DSRL in the near term as it works through the longer term implications of accommodating this further scope.

Two years and 20% in, the contract to take the Dounreay site to an interim end state by 2025 saving well over £1bn is progressing well. All annual milestones have been met to date, significant progress has been made in hazard reduction projects, and construction of the first two new low level waste repository vaults has been completed.

Updates to this page

Published 8 May 2014