Dounreay: over 250 safety failures in the past 6 years

A freedom of information request made by the Sunday Herald to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has revealed that the nuclear facility based at Dounreay has suffered over 250 safety failures in the past six years.

The 26-page list provided by SEPA details every incident at Dounreay since 1999. These include:
  • radioactive contamination of whelks, winkles, rabbits, concrete, soil, water, air and beaches
  • violations of safety conditions, including leaking waste tanks, lost radioactive waste and power cuts
  • abnormal radioactive discharge from a stack, contamination of grass with caesium-137, and a spill of radioactive caustic soda

In December 1999, radioactive waste containers were provided to the inhabitants of Thurso to make a "Santa's Grotto".

A spokesperson for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) said that the discovery of radioactive particles in the marine environment reflected the practices of the 1960s and 1970s, not those of today, adding that Dounreay is ranked as "one of the safest workplaces in Britain".

Revealed: the safety 'failures' at Dounreay (Sunday Herald, 15 May 2005)