Dounreay to get atomic clean-up at Dounreay

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The Independent Online
A MULTI-MILLION pound package of improvements at the Dounreay nuclear plant will be unveiled today as the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority attempts to correct a catalogue of "chronic safety problems" and weak management.

The authority is determined to resume reprocessing of radioactive waste at the north of Scotland complex despite mounting costs. Reprocessing was halted in 1996 after a leak. Ministers, embarrassed by damning reports on the plant, have refused to allow operations to resume until all safety concerns have been met. In September, Donald Dewar, Secretary of State for Scotland, ordered the authority to "get tough" at Dounreay after investigators made 143 safety recommendations.

The authority has applied to the Department of Industry for pounds 40m to pounds 50m to replace a leaking unit, but the bill to the taxpayer is expected to more than double with other work needed for reprocessing. The total for decommissioning and cleaning up Dounreay is estimated atbetween pounds 4bn and pounds 10bn over 20 years.

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