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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2006, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Fears raised over Dounreay jobs
The clean up at Dounreay is expected to cost 2.9b
Concerns have been expressed about what jobs or training would be offered to workers once the Dounreay nuclear plant is decommissioned in 30 years time.

John McKendrick, a Scottish Labour prospective parliamentary candidate, claims a proper strategy is not in place to offset job losses.

He has accused the local enterprise company of a lack of forward planning.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said it is "keenly aware of the issues that face the Dounreay area".

The UK Atomic Energy Authority, which runs the site in Caithness, expect the work to be completed in 2036.

Mr McKendrick said he had spoken to staff at Dounreay, union representatives and contacted HIE and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, (CASE).

The conclusion of his investigation was that not enough thought has been given to what jobs or re-training would be provided in the future because of an attitude that the end of decommissioning is still 30 years away.

Jobs loses

Mr McKendrick, a prospective parliamentary candidate for Caithness, said: "HIE has told me it has had a strategy in place since 2002 for responding to the closure of Dounreay.

"Yet it has no specific measures or goals in place to measure its performance in delivering the training and jobs needed to offset the losses at Dounreay."

He added: "Everyone thinks there is no real panic, but the reality is that the trickle of jobs loses is speeding up and many will have gone within six years."

Mr McKendrick has written to Enterprise Minister Nicol Stephen raising the concerns of the workforce.

'Well prepared'

Carroll Buxton, chief executive of CASE said a draft strategy for the area's future would be available soon.

She said: "In 2002, the HIE Network published their strategy in response to the challenges associated with the decommissioning of the Dounreay site - implementation of this strategy is ongoing.

"HIE is keenly aware of the issues that face the Dounreay area in the coming decades and is well prepared to exploit the different opportunities that changing global markets might offer for both its economic and social benefit."

She added: "In 2005, CASE initiated a socio-economic working group involving many of the main public and private sector interests.

"This group has focused on the forward direction of the area and is currently producing a draft strategy for its future which will be available for public consultation over the next few months."

The 140-acre Dounreay site is being cleaned up at a cost of 2.9bn.

Work starts on nuclear 'clean up'
03 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Nuclear clean-up team plans bid
16 Jan 06 |  Business
Bid to speed up nuclear run-down
11 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Dounreay run-down brought forward
02 Apr 04 |  Scotland

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