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SPW
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#1 Tom, What is the source for this as I certainly don't recognise the comments on the Dounreay programme  and I've spent enought time there?  Sounds typical sensationalist press coverage about anything nuclear but I reserve judgement until reading the article. I certainly hope they don't spell it as Doonreay! As for Sellafield, yes lots of challenges, not insurmountable, but you have to put it into context of the era and the rush at the time to develop the military and civilian nuclear programmes in the 50's, no comparison to current safety and technical standards.  Have a look at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) website if you want to see the current programmes for each Site. I believe Dounreay interim end state is circa mid 2030's i.e. decommissioning of the reactors and facilities complete, waste either removed from Site or safely stored in appropriate facilities, then care, maintenance and surveillance.  I guess it all comes down to ones definition of safe but the economics of decommissioning normally don't justify huge and expensive remediation projects when physics will often do the job for you over time!

Tom_Arundel
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Sources BBC news  300 years (2333)  Wiki 2336.  Site may be cleared of buildings and stuff by mid 2030s but won`t be considered safe for public until 2333. 

Spelling...I need new glasses amongst other things! 

Health and safety has improved but no one, or thing, is perfect and risk remains. The radio active trail from French nuclear stations has been tracked around Scotland and into the North Sea

`Physics over time` is true but we have to live with it all now and the pressures of getting new stations online by the 2030s, when we will be in a power `crisis` and probably short of funds, will lead to corners being cut again. It is reported that UK no longer has the `capacity` to make the turbines, so expect that America/China/Germany will be manufacturing much of it

 

 

 

Golf Juliet Tango
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I think Dounreay and similar sites are prime locations for rewilding. Allowing nature to reclaim the space is quite wonderful. Just search for pictures of the land around Chernobyl and you can see how effective this is.

We need millions of more trees in this country, so lets give them space.

Stephen

Democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty

Derek Batty
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Will anything grow there stephen ,,,or if any wild life there ,poss it gets contaminated and spreads ,,don't think anybody really nows 

Derek 

Tom_Arundel
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If `Green` is the colour of environmentally friendly, what colours are nuclear power, fossil fuels, wind etc?

john aston
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I think small scale nuclear is the way forward - actually, one of a whole suite of low or zero emission technologies . Amazingly I still think this despite having read Eric Schlosser's Command and Control - a forensically researched and  terrifying history of accidents, near misses and Olympic scale f**k ups involving nuclear weapons 

SPW
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Thanks Tom, just read the BBC report (assuming it was the one in August) and in my opinion found it lacking in detail and context but with a headline grabbing 300 year timescale for the Site to be "safe".  Wikki was better and more factual.  The programme is for all the major nuclear hazards to have been decommissioned at Dounreay and the Site placed into a C&M regime by mid 2030's which is a major milestone (which doesn't appear to get much credit) and will place the Site in a very low safety category (which is a risk based categorisation based on impact to members of the public and workers). As I'm sure you will appreciate nothing is ever "safe" in absolute terms, there are some really interesting studies available about people's attitude to risk which is often irrational, particulary in respect of radiation/nuclear, and it makes very interesting reading.  The 300 years timescale to release the site for unrestricted use is part of the strategy proposal out for consultation by the NDA and is open to the public comment and debate, essentially the argument is do you continue and remediate a site straight after decommissioning to release it early or leave it over a longer period of time under institutional care and reduce the long term cost significantly by taking account of natural decay when short lived isotopes are involved. I maybe didn't make myself clear in my original post when I said "physics will do the job for you over time" - I meant radioactivity reduces naturally over time and therefore depending on the type contamination can be used to our advantage by "doing nothing" and letting the physics take its course. The cost for remediation can be huge, often for little real benefit, and it essentially comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. In reality a Site like Dounreay could be cleared and released for public access in a relatively short timescale but is it good use of taxpayers money when there are things like the NHS etc. to fund? These intracies just doesn't get a mention in the article.  Strangely I never had any problem convincing government to defer spending money now while working on such projects!

Sorry a bit long winded and I'm not trying to underplay the challenges or concerns but as with most things in life the arguments aren't always as straight forward as they are portrayed and just wanted to share some real life experience from the industry.

French nuclear plumes, yes, no doubt, along with lots of other nasty pollutants that end up in our environment from many sources. The one advantage of radioactivity is the ability to be able to detect it at extremely low levels and you would find it in most places if you looked hard enough, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's harmful.

It is a shame about our lack of manufacturing capability but that's another story that I personally find depressing, however, whilst I would have concerns about Chinese manufacturing I would have no qualms about Germany, USA or several others manufacturing capability. 

Derek, yes things will certainly grow there but you are right that animals can occasionally be a problem. Mention rabbits to anyone in site remediation and wait for a reaction!  Unfortunately there is lots of experience and knowledge of the impacts of radioactivity on people and the environment, much of it based on the impacts of weapon deployment and historical accidents so we do know a lot, although you can clearly never say we know everything!

GJT - you are right that many nuclear site are suitable for rewilding and that is the strategy in many cases, by their very nature many were built in remote locations and it's an obvious end point with many benefits.

Agree with the view of others about the use of SMR's but timescales often quoted appear optimistic. Unfortunately most of this comes down to the complete lack of a sustainable national energy strategy from successive governments over many decades.  Any decisions on nuclear needed to be made at least 20 years ago, probably longer, considering the age and lifespan of the existing generating capacity. Too easy to kick the difficult decisions on new build and waste management policy into the long grass when looking at short 5 year term parliaments.

Golf Juliet Tango
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Too easy to kick the difficult decisions on new build and waste management policy into the long grass when looking at short 5 year term parliaments.

How true, of many substantial projects.  Most, if not all, of these have positive and negative impacts in both long & short term, before allowing for things no one anticipated (nor could have necessarily done) such as Covid-19.  Will we all be delighted that no one was prepared to build the extra runway in the south east?  Not just because of the short and long-term effects  on and of air travel but also because of the story of Berlin-Brandenberg.

Stephen

Democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty

Tom_Arundel
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Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!*rofl* !......I`ve just read Boris`s `Green industrial revolution` proposals.....Best laugh I`ve had in ages....So detached from reality it`s surreal! Brought tears to my eyes!... Keep it up Boris we all need a good laugh!

Geoff Brown
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I suppose I could mention CHERNOBYL! A classic case of human mismanagement but probably in the true tradition of the always slightly crumbly, inefficient Soviets.

I was living in West Germany when this cluster f*ck occurred. Coincidentally finding out some years later that Nord Rhine Westphalia was under a greater proportion of the fall out plume.

This incident does not dent my faith in the use of nuclear for power generation.

And NO I do not glow in the dark!