The state-owned UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is seeking to sell its commercial arm, UKAEA Ltd, which specializes in nuclear decommissioning, waste management and nuclear new build support services, both in the UK and overseas.
UKAEA said that it is seeking a purchaser for up to 100% of the issued share capital of UKAEA Ltd. The government has indicated that it would consider retaining a stake in UKAEA Ltd.
UKAEA Ltd was legally separated from the UKAEA on 1 April 2008. It owns two subsidiary companies - Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) and Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL). These subsidiaries are nuclear site licensee companies responsible for Dounreay (DSRL) and Harwell and Winfrith (RSRL) sites. UKAEA Ltd also manages the pension administration for a number of nuclear industry pension schemes.
The decision to sell the business follows a strategic review performed by the UKAEA. In a statement, the UKAEA said that the proposed sale of UKAEA Ltd "is the culmination of a process to develop a commercially viable nuclear decommissioning business. UKAEA Ltd has now reached a scale where it can operate and expand independently from government."
The sale process, which is being managed by investment bank Greenhill, is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
Business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson said: "As the UK moves towards an era of nuclear new build, this sale will increase efficiency, competition and value for money for the taxpayer in the decommissioning and clean up work of old nuclear power stations."
Lady Barbara Judge, chair of the UKAEA, said: "We believe that the UK and international nuclear decommissioning markets represent an exciting opportunity for UKAEA Ltd to build a larger and more broadly based nuclear services company, based on UKAEA Ltd's core skills, track record and brand."
She added, "The proposed sale will provide UKAEA Ltd with a new ownership structure to help deliver its strategic plans and greater commercial focus on its operations."