To be constructed on a site adjacent to the Wick John O' Groats airport, once operational, the NDA Archive will become the single facility to collect and store relevant records from all the civil nuclear sites in the UK. The Archive will be accessible to the industry, for international research and to the public. Many records will also be digitised.
As a government body the NDA is responsible for ensuring that all relevant nuclear records are preserved and made available in line with legislation and regulations on public information. These records include hundreds of thousands of boxes from Sellafield and Magnox sites currently in archive storage, as well as many thousands of boxes from Dounreay, Harwell and nuclear sites across Britain which have been amassed over 70 years of the industry.
The NDA's Business Services Director Rob Higgins, attending the event in Wick, said the new facility and the arrangements being put in place to manage it would ensure the records are managed expertly, safely and consistently into the future as more and more sites, like Dounreay, progress through decommissioning.
Commenting at the ceremony, Donald Mclachlan, Regional Director, said: "We are delighted to have secured the NDA contract and look forward to strengthening our relationships with the local supply chain to create an exemplar archive for the whole of the UK which will be an asset for the local community. This project will see us providing long term secure storage for more than 70 years' worth of historic information, and with our previous experience of constructing the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness, Morrison Construction has the knowledge and skills to deliver to the client and the communities expectations."
The Wick Archive is a priority project in the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Programme and is part of the NDA's ongoing socio economic support to the area. It will also provide a new home for the Caithness Archive. It is due to be completed by the end of next year, opening its doors to the public in 2017.