I completely agree with the comments made by Dr John Large over the startling admission made by the company decommissioning the Dounreay site, which has now found much more highly radioactive material than previously thought in the reactor (your report, 19 August). It never surprises me to find out that, in virtually every case of nuclear decommissioning in the UK, the original costs for removing radioactive materials are always seriously underestimated.
Now we find out that a much larger amount of highly radioactive material was left in the famous domed reactor when it was defuelled. Yet again taxpayers will have to pay many more tens of millions of pounds to sort out the legacy costs of the nuclear industry.
I agree with Dr Large’s view that the Dounreay operators need to completely reassess the length of the job, resources and timings to ensure safe radioactive waste management.
This should include completely reconsidering the ongoing transportation of the highly radioactive waste from Dounreay to Sellafield.
Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) urges the Dounreay operators and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to stop transporting it by rail through our Highland communities and our cities and to abandon any idea of transporting it across the sea, close to the Western Isles.
The waste should rather be safely managed near its original source, so as to avoid the risks of an accident or malicious incident in transporting it. If the complete project is to be reassessed, now is the time to stop transportation of such highly radioactive materials across Scotland.
(Clr) Bill Butler
Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland
NFLA Scotland Secretariat
Glasgow City Chambers