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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 February 2008, 00:25 GMT
Nuclear power's history compiled
Artist's impression of building
The new archive will cost 20m and take four years to build
A National Nuclear Archive is to be created in Caithness in the Highlands at a cost of 20m.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said it would potentially hold between 20 and 30 million digital, paper and photographic records.

They will primarily concern the history, development and decommissioning of the UK's civil nuclear industry since the 1940s.

The NDA will invest 8m over three years to help get the project going.

The archive is being proposed in response to the NDA's statutory obligation to manage public records, keeping them safe and making them more accessible to the public and the nuclear community.

'Valuable' information

About 20 specialist jobs will be created by the project and the building will also provide a new home for the Wick-based North Highland Archive, which is in need of additional storage space.

Dr Ian Roxburgh, NDA chief executive, said: "We are delighted to announce this investment for the UK's National Nuclear Archive.

"This will be the first time that this amount of valuable information - useful to researchers, academics and businesses - will be brought together under one roof.

This excellent news will bring sustained benefits to Caithness, both economically and socially
Cllr Carroll Buxton
HIE

"We want to create a world-class, internationally renowned facility for records archiving and, ultimately, knowledge management."

Dr Roxburgh added the archive would benefit the community.

"We are hoping to get local schools and colleges involved in using the NNA, even sponsoring educational projects," he said.

He also hopes it will attract more visitors to the area and boost the local economy.

The NDA has been working closely with the Highland Council and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise on the project.

Wick-based Highland Councillor Bill Fernie, chairman of the education culture and sport committee, said: "This announcement is good news for Caithness and we welcome the NDA's ongoing commitment to the project."

While Carroll Buxton, area director for HIE Caithness and Sutherland, added: "This excellent news will bring sustained benefits to Caithness, both economically and socially."

Land has already been earmarked as a potential site. It will take about four years to build and a private sector partner is being sought for its construction.

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