First of Sellafield's super-contracts

28 February 2012

The first of some £9 billion ($14.2 billion) in long-term contracts has been awarded to support decommissioning at the UK's Sellafield site. It covers design services and could be worth some £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) over 15 years.

The award has gone to two joint ventures: one is known as Axiom and made up of Amec, Assystem, Jacobs Engineering Group and Mott MacDonald; the other is called Progressive Alliance and made up of Babcock and URS Corp.

Sellafield Site Aerial Sept 09

Between them, Axiom and Progressive Alliance will supply design support services to Sellafield Ltd as it goes about decommissioning a wide range of facilities at the site. The 'true alliance-style framework contract' represents a new approach to contracting brought in by Sellafield Ltd's parent body, Nuclear Management Partners - itself a joint venture of Amec, URS Corp and Areva.

This web of nuclear engineering firms has called the contract a 'Design Services Alliance'. It will cover design and safety assessments, some construction, work packages for refurbishment jobs as well as post-operational clean-out and decommissioning support. Sellafield Ltd said the work is "structured across eight lots over four capability areas, including mechanical handling; process plant; control, electrical and instrumental; and civil, structural and architectural systems." The contract is "projected to extend for 15 years," said Sellafield, for a total value of £1.5 billion.

The UK government's policy has been to own as few nuclear assets as possible, spin off former state companies and create frameworks for private enterprise to meet its goals for clean-up or power generation. Nevertheless, it must maintain ownership of legacy wastes and facilities from the former national program that pioneered much nuclear research and the early use of nuclear power. In 2005 it created the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to own the legacy sites and direct government funding towards the ultimate goal of clean-up, overseeing a range of contracts across fuel cycle, research and Magnox power generation site groupings.

Sellafield Ltd said that the contract is "the first of an anticipated £9 billion ($14.2 billion) worth of long-term contracts" it will let "over the next two years."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News