Dounreay's rabbits of doom

3 August 2003

Managers at Dounreay have been ordered to stop rabbits from entering low-level waste repositories. Inspectors from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) spotted the rabbits hopping in and out of the repository.

The site's authorisation requires UKAEA to use the "best practicable means" for preventing the movement of radioactive material. An enforcement order was served on Dounreay's operators. UKAEA has been instructed to cut off access to the rabbits, which are in danger of spreading radioactive material beyond the site.

The enforcement notice requires UKAEA to take immediate and long-term measures to limit wildlife access and to quantify and repair damage caused by wildlife. It also requires UKAEA to carry out surveillance on the rabbits to demonstrate that the measures it implements have been effective.

A spokesman for UKAEA said that the perimeter fence had been improved, and that it was consulting with Scottish Natural Heritage on how to humanely reduce the resident rabbit population.
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