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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 06:41 GMT
Robots to 'clean' Dounreay reactor
Dounreay
Work will focus on the dome shaped fast reactor
Robots will be used during a 30m clean-up operation at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) will announce the move on Tuesday as the latest phase in a 4bn project to decommission the plant over the next 60 years.

The work will concentrate on the dome-shaped fast reactor at the site.

It is expected that this latest project will create at least 50 jobs.

Dounreay sign
There are high levels of radiation around the fast reactor
The UKAEA will sign an alliance with six companies to carry out specialised work on the fast reactor.

It has not been in use since the late 1970s but still has 9km of cables which need to be removed.

Robots will be used during the project because of the high levels of radiation and the risk of fire posed by chemicals inside the reactor.

The UKAEA said that it will be the most complex engineering and environmental challenge of the decommissioning process so far.

Closure plans

It has described the work as a key phase in the programme to make the entire site safe.

The company expects the operation to cost 30m and create at least 50 jobs.

The UK Government announced plans to gradually close down the Dounreay nuclear plant in 1998.

Ministers took the decision after the UKAEA said there was no commercial reason to keep the plant going.

The huge amount of decommissioning work needed to bring the plant's life to an end means there could be jobs at the site for at least another 100 years.

See also:

22 Jan 02 | Scotland
Dounreay receives safety 'all clear'
13 Feb 02 | Scotland
Nuclear clean-up cash 'wasteful'
01 Aug 01 | Scotland
Dounreay defends safety record
18 Jul 01 | Scotland
Dounreay reprocessing to cease
24 Jun 01 | Scotland
Campaigners hail Dounreay 'victory'
12 Oct 00 | Scotland
'Slow action' on Dounreay safety
09 Oct 00 | Scotland
Dounreay clean-up plans revealed
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