The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is to invest £8 million in plans to create a £20 million UK National Nuclear Archive in Caithness, northern Scotland.

The archive could hold up to 30 million digital, paper and photographic records primarily about the history, development and decommissioning of the UK nuclear industry since the 1940s.

Some of the records will be classified.

The money will be invested over three years and will be used to help get the project underway, probably on council-owned land near Wick Airport.

The NDA said the archive is being proposed in response to its statutory obligation to manage public records and also “making them more accessible to the public” and the nuclear community.

Around 20 jobs will be created by the project, with construction expected to take four years.

The building will provide a new base for other information from the North Highland Archive, as well as the documents from UKAEA sites at nearby Dounreay and Harwell, in the south of England.

Some 2000–3000 square metres are earmarked for document storage with an additional 1000–2000 square metres of office space, including reading rooms.

Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are also involved in the plan.