Scottish government backs nuclear waste site

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3 September 2008 - A proposed low-level radioactive waste store near the former Dounreay nuclear power plant has won approval from the Scottish Government environmental agency.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) wants to construct the £110m ($195m) facility - the first of its kind in Scotland - on grazing land as a deposit for material removed from the Caithness plant during decommissioning. An approved site nearby is now considered too susceptible to coastal erosion.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has told Highland Council, which is considering the application, that it supports the scheme subject to conditions. These include assessing the risk of water contamination and the submission of a restoration programme for the new site.

"This planning response has been a unique challenge for SEPA," acknowledged chief executive Campbell Gemmell. "It has involved more than 40 staff and external experts.

"The agency has worked closely with DSRL and Highland to ensure that we could provide the council with the information it needs to determine this application."

SEPA head of environmental protection and improvement Colin Bayes said work involved in preparing the response would inform future regulation of the proposed facilities.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has joined local people in opposing the plan, saying the store would be too close to the village of Buldoo.

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