The company responsible for decommissioning the fast reactor complex on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is making available £100,000 to help local businesses get back on their feet after lockdown.
The money is being given to the Caithness Business Fund, which is managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. It is intended to help companies and traders with the cost of adapting their business models in the new era of physical distancing.
Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said:
The money would be made available through a fast-track application process to the Caithness Business Fund over the course of several funding rounds, the first of which is open now to applications.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on businesses in Caithness, and while the support from both UK and Scottish Governments has been welcome, it is clear that many businesses are now facing additional challenges as lockdown restrictions ease and we move towards the reset and recovery of our economy.
We know that the local business community is keen to reopen as soon as possible, but only in a way which is compatible with ensuring the safety of their workforce and their customers. Many businesses are facing significant costs as they look to adapt their premises to meet public health and social distancing requirements.
This generous support from DSRL will enable the fund to quickly support these businesses as they look to rebuild and recover in the coming months.
During the period of lockdown, DSRL assisted several essential businesses by making available the services of joiners to manufacture and install protective screens for staff.
As society moves into phase 1 of the lockdown easing, more businesses are expected to re-open and the need for safety modifications to protect staff and public is expected to increase.
Mark Rouse, Managing Director of DSRL, said:
We were in a unique position to help essential businesses during the lockdown because we maintained a state of operational readiness that could be deployed to support the community.
As we move into phase 1, and our own focus moves onto how we can safely restart the work of decommissioning the site, we wanted to continue being able to help other businesses as they come out of hibernation.
A resilient local economy is really important to us – both today, because it helps us retain and recruit the specialist skills and services we need, and in the future, because we want the site to leave behind a legacy of social and economic wellbeing when the decommissioning is complete.
Dounreay, which was once the UK’s centre for fast reactor research, is now Scotland’s largest decommissioning project. The work is being delivered by DSRL, a company owned by Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, on behalf of the NDA.