Bluegrass at Dounreay

01 June 2012

Decommissioning worker Neil Parkin has established a sideline by making banjos out of wood salvaged from the Dounreay site.

Neil Parkin Dounreay banjos 187x250

In the north of Scotland, Dounreay is where the UK conducted research on advanced fuel cycles and fast-neutron reactors for several decades. Parkin oversees work on the current project of decommissioning many of the buildings there, but he saw another use for some of the unwanted materials.

"I've always had an interest in design and DIY," he said. "I took up the banjo in my spare time eight years ago and it evolved when I saw the wood that was coming off the buildings at Dounreay and thought it could be used again."

The first batch of wood arose from the demolition of the D8550 criticality building; the former Dounreay education and training centre. The ornate wood of this building's entrance porch has provided for four instruments. Another batch for up to ten banjos has now come from the entrance and door frames of the former fuel cycle area administration building known as D1200.

The first instrument Parkin made was a birthday present for his father; the most recent was a commission for American musician Dwight Diller.

The musical sideline could turn into a business for Parkin through the transition program meant to sustain workers' livelihoods as the site is finally closed in about ten years' time.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News