Dounreay operator fined £140k

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The Independent Online

The UK Atomic Energy Authority has been fined £140,000 for releasing radioactive particles into the sea and illegally dumping radioactive waste.

As the operator of the nuclear plant at Dounreay, Caithness, the UKAEA was responsible for a number of leaks and safety breaches over a 20-year period.

After an investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), UKAEA bosses admitted disposing of radioactive waste at a landfill site at the plant between 1963 and 1975 and three charges of allowing nuclear fuel particles to be released through drains into the Pentland Firth. All the offences, which contravened the Radioactive Substances Act, took place between 1963 and 1984.

Wick Sheriff Court was told that six of the recovered particles were considered very dangerous and could be fatal if ingested.

John Crofts, UKAEA's director of safety, said afterwards: "We accept that mistakes were made and regret those mistakes."

Dounreay shut in 1994 and is due to be decommissioned by 2033.