Government takes over contract to clean up Sellafield

Work to clean up leftover radioactive waste at Sellafield will be taken back on by the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. A £9 billion contract for the clean-up operation was taken […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Work to clean up leftover radioactive waste at Sellafield will be taken back on by the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

A £9 billion contract for the clean-up operation was taken out of the hands of the company which is currently running it, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), government announced today.

It follows criticism from MP Margaret Hodge of the project’s “astonishing costs” last year. The MP chaired the Public Accounts Committee’s investigation of whether the deal was giving the best value for money.

In a statement today the Energy Secretary admitted the “complexity” of the work meant it is “less well suited to the transfer of full site-wide responsibility to the private sector”.

It should take 15 months to transfer responsibility from NMP to the NDA, which is taking Sellafield Ltd under its control, according to the government’s statement.

The Nuclear Industry Association claimed costs had still been kept lower than they could have been.

Chief Executive Keith Parker said: “Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) has made important progress in managing one of the world’s most complex decommissioning sites, achieving savings of £650 million while also reinvesting back into the local community in West Cumbria.”