Issued by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
The NDA has announced today (Friday) that it will invest £8 million in plans to create the UK’s National Nuclear Archive (NNA) in Caithness, Scotland.
The NNA will potentially hold between 20 and 30 million digital, paper and photographic records primarily concerning the history, development and decommissioning of the UK’s civil nuclear industry since the 1940s. The money will be invested over three years and will help get the £20 million project off the ground.
The NNA is being proposed in response to the NDA’s statutory obligation to manage public records, keeping them safe and making them more accessible to the public and the nuclear community. Around 20 specialist jobs will be created by the project and the building will also provide a new home for the Wick-based North Highland Archive, which is much in need of additional storage space.
Dr Ian Roxburgh, NDA Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment for the UK’s National Nuclear Archive.
“This will be the first time that this amount of valuable information - useful to researchers, academics and businesses - will be brought together under one roof. We want to create a world-class, internationally renowned facility for records archiving and, ultimately, knowledge management.”
Dr Roxburgh added that the archive would benefit the community. “We are hoping to get local schools and colleges involved in using the NNA, even sponsoring educational projects”, he said. “We hope it could attract more visitors to the area and boost the local economy.”
The NDA has been working closely with both the Highland Council and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise on the project. Wick-based Highland Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, said: “This announcement is good news for Caithness and we welcome the NDA’s ongoing commitment to the project.”
Carroll Buxton, area director for HIE Caithness and Sutherland, added: “This excellent news will bring sustained benefits to Caithness, both economically and socially.
“Securing this archive is one of the targets set out in a 50-point action plan published by the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership at the end of last year. This announcement represents an excellent start to the plan and I look forward to further projects being developed as work progresses.”
The archive will take about four years to build and many more to establish as an exemplar in its field. Land near the airport, currently owned by the local authority, has been earmarked as a potential site.
Notes to Editors
1) A private sector partner will be sought to build the archive, and the building will be leased back over a number of years. The build and set-up costs are likely to be around £20 million over a four year period.
2) The contract to build the archive will be tendered in line with the proper European procurement guidelines and the NDA will be encouraging the use of local labour on the construction.
3) The building will feature a two storey temperature-controlled warehouse measuring between 2,000 and 3,000 sq m and the office space will measure between 1,000 and 2,000 sq m. It will contain reading rooms, conference facilities and visitor facilities.