Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

First nuclear heritage site bid

The Dounreay Dome under construction in 1950s
Dounreay was constructed on the Caithness coast in the 1950s

Dounreay could become the UK's first nuclear heritage site under plans by the company dismantling the complex.

Built on the Caithness coast in the 1950s, the site was used for experimental nuclear reactor projects.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) is to launch a three-month consultation next year on what should be left as a legacy.

It is the first time a heritage strategy has been drawn up for an entire nuclear site.

Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the moment nuclear power began to be generated inside the dome at Dounreay.

The experimental fast breeder at Caithness achieved criticality on 14 November 1959.

Journalist Chapman Pincher described the radioactive energy within the steel sphere at the time as a "caged tiger".

A book and release of archive images, including a visit by the Queen Mother, are helping to mark the anniversary.

Criticality is a self-sustaining chain reaction producing energy and radioactivity.

Staff at Dounreay had worked for four years to reach that point.

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