|Statewatch article: RefNo# 23865
|NENIG bulletin no 54
Northern European Nuclear Information Group Bulletin, March
1992, no: 54
1. The European Commission has warned Dounreay management
over the lack of proper controls and has ordered the
reprocessing plant to remain closed until the faults are
2. Nordic Ministers are committed to opposing the dumping of
radioactive wastes at sea.
3. A new Ã10 million pipe is to be installed at Dounreay to
take liquid radioactive discharges into the North Sea.
4. Some countries want to relax international regulations to
allow the dumping at sea of radioactive wastes from the
decommissioning of nuclear power stations and submarines.
5. The Best Available Technology for the management of spent
nuclear fuel is above ground dry storage.
6. News in Brief.
1. EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S WARNING TO DOUNREAY MANAGEMENT
1.1 The European Commission has issued a warning to Dounreay
about its poor management and ordered its research reactor fuel
reprocessing plant to remain closed until improvements are
agreed. The warning from the EC's Euratom agency follows the
lost of 13.9 kg of highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) at the plant.
It has since been admitted that 3 kg of HEU was discharged into
the North Sea.
1.2 The Euratom inspectors stated that there were
"shortcomings in the nuclear operator's nuclear material
accountancy and control system". The lack of proper control
over the materials was in breach of the Euratom Treaty and EC
1.3 The European Commission inspectors ordered Dounreay
operators, AEA, "to rectify the failures before the plant
resumes normal operations. A report evaluating the measures
proposed and implemented will be presented to the Commission
in order to allow it to decide on any follow-up actions
2. DOUNREAY ISSUES AT THE NORDIC COUNCIL
2.1 At the annual Nordic Council meeting, held in Helsinki,
the Norwegian environment minister, Mr Thorbjorn Bernsten,
speaking on behalf of the Nordic Ministers, said governments
must be "both blind and deaf" if they do not understand Nordic
opposition to Dounreay.
2.2 Mr Bernsten was answering a question from Icelandic MP,
Mr Hjorleifur Guttormsson, about a German government working
group's discussion on using Dounreay to store and reprocess its
research reactor spent fuel. Mr Bernsten said Danish scientists
would monitor the matter and contact the German government if
a firm proposal is made. "The Nordic Council will follow this
case closely and will react when proper and necessary." He said
he was strongly opposed to the transport of such highly
2.3 The Nordic Ministers also committed themselves to opposing
moves to relax rules on the dumping of radioactive wastes at
sea. In answer to a question by Danish MP, Ms Brigitte
Husmark, Iceland minister Mr Eidur Gudnason said some countries
were opposing tighter rules on radioactive waste dumping at sea
in negotiations on a new marine pollution convention to replace
the Oslo and Paris Conventions. (See 4.) Mr Gudnason said the
Nordic Governments would work for a ban on the dumping of all
3. NEW DOUNREAY DISCHARGE PIPE
3.1 After Dounreay admitted two years ago that its radioactive
discharge pipe into the North Sea was badly damaged and not
functioning correctly a new pipeline is to be installed at a
cost of Ã10 million.
3.2 A inspection of the 1958 pipeline revealed that the
diffuser chamber at the end of the 600 metre tunnel, installed
under the seabed, were missing. The diffusers were installed
to ensure a proper dispersal of the radioactive liquids into
the sea. Sand and seawater has penetrated the tunnel, trapping
radioactive particles within the tunnel.
3.3 Now the Government has given Ã10 million for three new
high density poly
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