During the event stakeholders were given the chance to speak directly to bidders about opportunities in the area, as well as what they would like to see from a new Parent Body Organisation (PBO). Bidders were also given an outline of how the competition will be run – including ensuring an ethical and fair competition.
In addition to NDA representatives, there were several other speakers from across the region, including local MP John Thurso, Eann Sinclair (Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership), Trudy Morris (Caithness Chamber of Commerce), David Whiteford (North Highland Initiative), Donald MacBeath (North Highland College), and Davie Alexander from UNITE.
The day ended with a Q&A session, in which panel members from the NDA, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, the Highland Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, took questions from the floor about both the history and future of the Dounreay site.
John Thurso MP said:
“The day fulfilled both its purposes – firstly to ensure that bidding companies understood the vital importance of socio-economic regeneration in the decommissioning process and that the successful bidder must actively engage in it and, secondly, to demonstrate that the North is a great place to do business offering real economic opportunity, a great environment and a skilled and committed workforce. The companies I talked to went away with a clear concept of what was needed.”
Bob Earnshaw, Acting Chair of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, said:
“The Dounreay Stakeholder Group was delighted to host the first part of this event. It gave us a chance to outline to all those interested in the Dounreay competition what the opportunities are for the future- which will allow them to consider how best they can complete the decommissioning programme, and consider the best way to work in partnership with us to provide support for the future.”
Graeme Rankin, NDA Competition Project Manager, said:
“It was a successful and interesting day – and a great way to formally kick off the competition process. We felt it was important that stakeholders had the opportunity to have their say and talk to potential bidders about their concerns and aspirations for the area – and I believe that bidders found this grassroots insight very useful. “One of the overriding themes of the day was the stakeholders’ desire to work in partnership with the successful PBO to ensure a sustainable future for the region.
“We are now focusing on getting ready for the next part of the industry event in Glasgow on the 9 March, at which we will give more detail on the specifics of the competition process.”