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MoD given three months to provide information on future of Vulcan site in Caithness

The Ministry of Defence has been given three months to provide information about the future of its Vulcan site in Caithness or face expulsion from a local liaison group.

The ultimatum was delivered by Dounreay Stakeholders Group (DSG), which has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of information about the future of the site and the lack of clarity over options for decommissioning which is expected to get under way at the start of 2023.

Members have tried to get details about what is happening for a number of years and has written to the MoD and ministers for answers without success.

At Wednesday night's virtual meeting, they decided on "the radical step" of giving the MoD until September to provide the information they want or risk being removed from the stakeholders group to which it has belonged since it was set up in 2005. A letter is to be sent to the ministry and to the defence secretary Ben Wallace.

Vulcan has played a key role in the UK’s nuclear submarine programme for 50 years but in 2015 the plug was pulled on the pressurised water reactor and the MoD later announced it had no future need for the site.

The DSG chairman, Councillor Struan Mackie, said the MoD had been promising an update on "the future direction of travel" at Vulcan for some time but had not delivered. He said the position was becoming unsustainable, although he hoped it could be resolved.

"This information is vitally important to the community, to the staff and to the local supply chain who deserve to know what the immediate future looks like and should have been provided before now," he said.

"It is incredibly disappointing. Vulcan [and Dounreay] are of paramount importance to this community and we need to know what the long-term plans are for the Vulcan site. We were expecting an update in March and then something after the elections in May but still nothing is forthcoming.

"We know these decisions are taken far, far away from here but the lack of information we are getting is really disappointing. Massive changes are going to take place and we still do not have key information. We have exhausted every avenue we have to provide proper engagement."

Councillor Mackie stressed that he is "incredibly proud" of the work undertaken at the Vulcan site.

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