Nuclear clean-up nears end at Dounreay

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WORKERS at Dounreay are close to completing of one of Britain’s most important nuclear clean-up tasks.

Staff worked in shifts round the clock over Christmas and New Year to destroy liquid metal used as a coolant in the Dounreay fast reactor. More than 161,000 litres of the contaminated alloy of sodium and potassium have been destroyed.

Liquid metal was used in fast reactors to transfer heat from the nuclear reaction in the core to the steam-generating plant where electricity was produced. The coolant became highly contaminated during its operation until closure in 1977.

Andy Swan, the engineer in charge of the reactor decommissioning programme at site closure contractor Dounreay Site Restoration, said: “We’re on course to destroy the remaining six tonnes by the end of March.”

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