DOUNREAY has never been far from the headlines for one reason or another since the 1950s, when it was built to further the UK’s nuclear energy ambitions.
A cocktail of toxic leftovers now stored at the facility keeps it in the news now as another prime example of why some policies should be devolved as a priority.
Decisions are taken on nuclear waste – or to use the industry term “exotics” – hundreds of miles from where they are stored.
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David Cameron attended a nuclear summit in Washington at the end of last month and announced that the biggest ever shipment of enriched uranium and spent nuclear fuel from Dounreay would be transported to the US.
In return, the US would send Europe a different type of uranium to be converted into medical isotopes, which, incidentally, we are told Europe is awash with.
We share Dr Paul Monaghan’s distrust of the UK Government and the Prime Minister’s role in this sorry episode.
That the Government should behave in such a cavalier fashion with such dangerous material defies belief and illustrates its disrespect for Scots and our country.
The exotics to be exported were never included in agreements on future transfer arrangements, and it would appear that Cameron – as well as making up policy on the hoof – has been putting political pressure on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to force through policy changes.
In this case there is no question where decisions should be made on a matter of such importance.
We will have a new Scottish Parliament after May 5.
Let one of its first duties be to ensure that it is our MSPs who will call the shots on the safety of nuclear materials.