Dounreay needs to update its airborne radiation monitoring systems, a European Commission (EC) inspection report has concluded. Brussels’ nuclear energy directorate has concluded after an inspection of the UKAEA site in Caithness, Scotland, that “existing high volume air samplers” should be replaced with “new generation devices when these have proven their reliability.” These should be “duly fenced off… to ensure their physical integrity” and their fitting should be made mandatory under regulation, said Brussels.

The EC also wanted to be kept informed of efforts to isolate the so-called Dounreay Shaft, which had – notoriously – been filled with radioactive waste. It also wanted updated information on efforts to remove this waste and ensure radioactive particles are kept from the marine environment on local beaches and seawater.

Furthermore it said that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) should regularly consider improving beach radiation survey systems. A notable problem is that the owner of the nearby Sandside beach refuses access to UKAEA inspectors: a mutually acceptable access agreement should be struck, said the EC. The programme of removing radioactive particles from the beach should “for reasons of protection of the population, not be interrupted on this publicly accessible beach.” 

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