NDA expects Magnox contract will survive legal writ

17 June 2014

The UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority does not expect legal action against its decision to hire a new parent body organisation (PBO) would lead to a re-run of the contract tender to manage the clean-up of 12 historic nuclear sites.

The Financial Times reported 15 June that Energy Solutions had filed a high-court writ seeking damages of £200 million ($340 million), claiming that the NDA had failed to follow its own procedures during the two-year bidding process.

Energy Solutions has not made a public statement about the writ, but an NDA spokesman told World Nuclear News 16 June that Energy Solutions "has confirmed it is not seeking to overturn" the authority's decision.

The dispute concerns the award of a contract to take control of decommissioning work at ten commercial Magnox nuclear power plants and two research centres, at Harwell and Winfrith.

NDA announced in March it had selected the British joint venture company Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) as the preferred bidder for the 14-year contract, which is worth £7 billion ($11.7 billion). CFP beat three other consortia for the contract, for which US companies Energy Solutions and Bechtel had jointly made one bid. The new contract would provide savings "of around £1.5 billion against the previous plan," the NDA spokesman said.

The NDA uses a PBO system to grant private companies the right to take charge of nuclear decommissioning projects in the UK by contracting out the management of site licence companies. Energy Solutions and the UK Atomic Energy Authority are the incumbent PBOs for site licence companies Magnox Ltd and Research Sites Restoration Ltd, respectively.

The transfer of shares from those site licence companies is "unaffected" by Energy Solution's legal action, the NDA spokesman said. It will take place as planned on 1 September, he said, "subject to completion of the five-month transition period which is currently underway."

"The NDA remains confident that the competition process was carried out in a robust manner in full compliance with all EU and UK regulations and guidelines," the NDA spokesman said.

"The NDA's processes were assessed throughout the two years of competition to ensure compliance. This included a comprehensive, positive review earlier this year by the Major Projects Authority, an arm of the Cabinet Office," he said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News