The seabed around the Dounreay nuclear Plant in Caithness is to be scoured in a multi-million pound operation to clean up radioactive particles.
The nuclear plant is now being decommissioned
The UK Atomic Energy Authority plans to clear an area the size of 60 football pitches where it is believed the most hazardous material is.
Remotely-operated vehicles will be used to survey an area between Dounreay and nearby Sandside Beach.
The move has been welcomed by the beach's owner Geoffrey Minter.
The recovery will be integrated with the remediation of the nuclear complex's old diffuser - thought to be the source of the contamination.
Final consultation will now take place on the seven year programme, which will also see the first ever in-depth survey of the beach and increased onshore monitoring.
It is thought that thousands more metallic fragments of reprocessed reactor fuel remain on the seabed.
The 140-acre (56 hectare) Caithness plant is being decommissioned at a cost of £2.9bn.