The UK government has been forced to take a multibillion-pound nuclear cleanup contract back into public ownership, after a botched tender to the private sector landed the taxpayer with a £122m bill. The government will take over the decommissioning of Britain’s 12 Magnox sites, including the former nuclear power stations at Dungeness in Kent and Hinkley Point in Somerset. The move is a response to the fallout from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) awarding a 14-year deal to the international consortium Cavendish Fluor Partnership in 2014. Last year the government settled with two US companies that lost out on the £6.2bn contract and brought a legal challenge over the tender process. Ministers terminated the contract early, leading to speculation over whether it would be put out to tender again to the private sector or brought back into public hands. The private company Magnox Ltd would become a subsidiary of the NDA on 1 September. Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), has strongly criticised the NDA and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy over the handling and oversight of the nuclear cleanup contract, one of the government’s biggest ever. A review of the failings that led to the bungled process, written by the former National Grid boss Steve Holliday, is due to be published later this year. Bringing the Magnox work back into the public sector means that about 85% of Britain’s nuclear cleanup work is in public hands, after the NDA’s takeover of the Sellafield storage and reprocessing site in 2016. The PAC last week announced an inquiry into the NDA’s work at Sellafield, which is forecast to be £913m over budget and faces potential delays.
Guardian 2nd July 2018 read more »
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