Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 10:54 UK

Watchdog backs nuclear waste plan

Dounreay nuclear plant
Residents want the dump situated on the licensed nuclear site

Environment watchdog Sepa has backed plans for a low level waste store to be built near the Dounreay nuclear plant.

Highland Council still has to consider the application, submitted by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd 18 months ago.

Villagers at Buldoo, near the proposed site, said they would do all they could to block the development, which would cost tens of millions of pounds.

The facility would take radioactive waste from Dounreay and the neighbouring MoD Vulcan test reactor.

Sepa said it supported the development, provided a number of planning conditions were imposed to protect people and the environment.

More than 40 Sepa staff and external experts have been involved in assessing the application, which would be the first of its kind in Scotland.

'Informed decisions'

Sepa spokesman Colin Bayes said: "Sepa isn't just about inspecting facilities once they're up and running.

"It provides information to allow all stakeholders, from government bodies to local residents, to have their say and help us make informed decisions before a facility is permitted to operate."

But residents at Buldoo have said they are committed to opposing the development, which they claim would cause nuisance and result in lower property values.

They have said they want the dump situated on part of the licensed nuclear site.

Meanwhile, three further radioactive particles have been discovered on Sandside beach, next to the Dounreay plant.

It brings the total number of hotspots to wash up on the public beach to 111.

The finds come as a result of the resumption of monitoring by UK Atomic Energy Authority teams.

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