Nuclear Restoration Services Dounreay, UK



Fingerprinting support consists of providing embedded waste characterisation support to Dounreay's Characterisation and Non-Destructive Assay team. A key part of Cyclife consultant's scope has been to develop, maintain, and re-validate the radiological fingerprints used on site. Involvement has ranged from characterisation planning to implementation of activity assessments used to consign waste. We advise and support Dounreay's project teams on what fingerprints can be applied and how to develop new fingerprints, including through sampling and analysis.

The characterisation specialists of Cyclife UK have worked with Dounreay prior to this project through projects including developing alternative waste routes for large metal items. Our previous experience enabled us to quickly adapt to working within Dounreay's teams. Our understanding of Dounreay's waste routes from previous work investigating the feasibility of a waste management hub has also been beneficial to understanding how the fingerprints are used to consign waste.


The fingerprints that Cyclife UK has worked on have been applied to areas with a wide range of contamination histories, often requiring an innovative and adaptable approach to best fit the needs of the project. This is not only from the perspective of meeting characterisation objectives but in support of all users of the fingerprint including Safety Case and Radiation Protection. Understanding the contamination history, the processes generating the waste, and the intended uses of the fingerprint have been essential to generating an appropriate fingerprint and enabling the correct interpretation of measurement data. 

Our proposal

Cyclife UK provided a team of five people as an embedded resource to support and deliver the customer benefits as described below.

Customer benefits

Through a team of specialists embedded into the Dounreay characterisation team the following benefits have been realised:

  • Our specialists have fully integrated into Dounreay's team allowing seamless collaborative workingOur depth of experience has enabled us to take on the development of the more challenging characterisation scenarios
  • The Cyclife team's experience in the full waste lifecycle has enabled us to advise on the significance and management of measurement uncertainties
  • Cyclife has developed a training package for fingerprint development to further expand Dounreay's internal capability and ensure skills are maintained
  • Cyclife's specialists have supported Dounreay's team in refining the process for developing and maintaining fingerprints


Cyclife has seamlessly integrated into the Characterisation team, enabling Dounreay to progress the significant undertaking of managing their fingerprint portfolio.  Our team has been fundamental to the delivery of this task for which the Non-Destructive Assay team won the Delivery award at the Dounreay Decommissioning Excellence awards. Cyclife's consistent delivery has been a key enabler for this achievement, where we have been relied upon to manage the most challenging tasks, to lead the way in optimising the Fingerprinting process, and through this have obtained a unique overview of the waste challenges across the Dounreay site.