Scotland: experience of radioactive waste (RAW) management and contaminated site clean-up

D. BROUGHTON, Independent Consultant, UK

DOI: 10.1533/19780857097446.2.539

Abstract: This chapter discusses the nuclear operational, nuclear decommissioning and associated radioactive waste activities being undertaken at the eight nuclear sites in Scotland. The Scottish government radioactive waste policies governing the sites are explained and put into context with those of the rest of the UK. The history, current activities being undertaken, and the anticipated future programmes are described for each site. The scales of the programmes are illustrated by giving summary data of the volumes of radioactive waste involved and the timescales over which it is to be managed. Brief mention is made of radioactive waste associated with the non-nuclear industry.

Key words: Scottish radioactive waste policy, volumes of radioactive waste in Scotland, decommissioning strategy, disposal and storage of radioactive waste, nuclear power in Scotland.

17.1 Introduction

Nuclear installations for both civil and military purposes began to be built in Scotland from around 1950. Some remain operational today, others are undergoing decommissioning, and new facilities are being constructed at some of the sites. Although located in Scotland, no sites are Scottish owned. The military installations are owned by United Kingdom (UK) government, Ministry of Defence (MoD). The operational nuclear power stations are owned by multinational companies. The installations undergoing decom­missioning are owned by UK government, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

There are eight separate nuclear sites at six locations in Scotland and these are described in Table 17.1 and their locations shown in Fig. 17.1.

All the nuclear installations create and manage radioactive wastes (RAW), though there is a wide range in the volumes and categories of waste managed at the different locations.

Permission has been given by the NDA for the use in this chapter of NDA and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) copyright source data on waste volumes in the NDA 2010 UK Radioactive Waste Inventory

Table 17.1 Scottish nuclear sites

Owner and site name

Site operating manager


Operations at site



Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd


Decommissioning and LLW disposal

Hunterston A






Dumfries and Galloway


EDF Energy

Hunterston B

British Energy


Power station


British Energy

East Lothian

Power station


Naval Reactor Test Establishment (NRTE) Vulcan

Rolls Royce


Testing nuclear submarine propulsion reactor

Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Rosyth Royal Dockyard







Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde



Support to operational submarines

Source: I nformation compiled by permission of Scottish Government from Copy­right data of Scottish Government in Scottish Government report B4435313 version 01 January 2011.

(UKRWI) (NDA, 2011a). Permission has been given by Scottish govern­ment for use of its copyright source data in all its higher activity waste policy documents. Permission has also been given by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) and Magnox for use of its copyright source data on its sites. The MoD and Rolls Royce have both freely provided information for the sections on Rosyth Royal Dockyard and the Naval Reactor Test Establish­ment (Vulcan).

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