From Secretary of State UK, Ed Davey
As I informed the House today through a written Ministerial statement the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has today announced a change to its commercial model at Sellafield, its largest and most complex site. 1.It is important for the communities involved – and for the future of nuclear power in this country.
We work closely with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and its contractors to ensure decommissioning is undertaken as effectively as possible. But, as we are guardians of the public purse, we must also make sure that clean-up is done in a way that delivers the best value for money. Over the last year the NDA has been conducting a thorough review of its business model in the unique context of Sellafield to consider what contractual model might best deliver improved performance and value for money.
In April last year we endorsed the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s decision to roll the current Parent Body Organisation (PBO) contract forward into the second term to ensure that the progress made in the first five year term could be built upon.
The complexity and technical uncertainties at Sellafield are unique and need a management structure best suited to meeting the specific challenges faced by the site.
Sellafield is the most complex industrial site in Europe. It is home to some of the oldest nuclear facilities in the world – the legacy ponds and silos – which were constructed in the 40’s and 50’s - as well as the UK’s plutonium stockpile.
Because of these unique challenges Sellafield is less well suited to the transfer of full site-wide responsibility to the private sector via a PBO structure.
The NDA has now recommended to Government that management arrangements are simplified.
In future, the private sector will be retained as suppliers of Sellafield Limited, rather than owners of the site.
Sellafield Limited will remain a publicly funded company, owned by the NDA.
The team will be appointed and governed by a newly-constituted Board of the Site Licence Company. The new model will, in due course, see a strategic partner appointed by Sellafield Limited, to strengthen the programme management and commercial capability at the site as well as playing a key role in managing capital projects and contracts. This approach is recognised as best practice in other major projects, such as Crossrail and the Olympics.
NDA and Sellafield Limited will manage the transition to the new arrangements, expected to take around 15 months to complete. This will be done, in close co-operation with workforce representatives, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), the supply chain, the regulators and the local community.
The continued safe and secure operation of the Sellafield site will remain the over-riding focus during the transition.
And it will remain so under the new structure.
But this new structure is the best way to ensure that safety – and value for money – are pursued in tandem.