Highlands & Islands

Contamination halted work in an area of Dounreay

Dounreay Image copyright DSRL
Image caption Dounreay near Thurso is in the process of being decommissioned

Work in an area of the Dounreay nuclear site was temporarily halted after low levels of radioactive contamination were detected, it has emerged.

An employee at the plant near Thurso in Caithness made the detection on 7 June.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd said the worker was wearing protective clothing and had since returned to work.

It said there was no risk to other staff or the public and the incident was rated "zero", the lowest level on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Nuclear industry regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, was informed.

The area where the contamination was detected was evacuated.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd said: "As a precaution work in the area stopped immediately and an investigation was launched.

"There was no risk to members of the public, no increased risk to the workforce and no release to the environment."

The site of Britain's former centre of nuclear fast reactor research and development, Dounreay is in the process of being decommissioned and the land cleaned up.

An interim end state, when the decommissioning work has been completed, is expected to be reached between 2030 and 2033.

However, according to Dounreay's operators, it will not be for another 300 years from now when the land is deemed to be safe of any potential radioactive contamination for the site to be put to another use.

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