Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has received planning consent for two of the biggest construction projects needed to complete the site clean-up.
The facilities will look after low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the remainder of the site closure programme.
With a combined value in excess of £300m and a capacity for almost 200,000m3 of waste, they will be the largest facilities ever built in Scotland for managing radioactive waste.
‘The planning consents keep our clean-up programme on course for completion in 2025,’ said Tony Trayner, head of construction at DSRL.
‘An essential element of any decommissioning project is being able to deal with the radioactive waste that it generates and these new facilities will give us that capacity through to the end of our programme,’ he added.
Solid and liquid intermediate-level radioactive waste will be processed in a new treatment plant known as D3900, where it will be mixed with cement and set inside drums and crates. Once set, the containers will be moved to an adjoining storage area where they will be held pending a Scottish policy for the long-term management of this type of waste.
Low-level radioactive waste from the site decommissioning is being stockpiled until a route is opened for its disposal. Following public consultation on the options, the site chose an area of land adjacent to Dounreay for a series of disposal vaults and applied for planning permission in 2006.
The application was approved by Highland Council in January 2009 and forwarded to the Scottish government for consideration. Ministers asked the local planning authority to include an extra condition about the establishment of a community benefit fund.
The council endorsed this last month and DSRL has now received formal notification that consent has been granted.
Construction of the disposal site is due to begin in 2011, with the first of the vaults ready to receive waste in 2014.