UK names preferred bidder for waste disposal project

16 August 2007

UK Nuclear Waste Management, a consortium led by Washington Group International, has been announced as the preferred bidder to manage and operate the UK's low-level radioactive waste repository (LLWR).

A contract, reportedly worth GBP200-500 million ($400-995 million), is due to be awarded in October 2007 for an initial five-year period with the potential for further extension to 17 years.

The announcement is the culmination of a competition process launched by the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) April 2006. Two other consortia - Waste Management Solutions (Energy Solutions, BNG Project Services, Fluor and Jacobs) and BSN Environmental (Babcock Support Services, Stoller and Nukem) - participated in the competition.

The contract will cover the management and operation of the LLWR near Drigg in Cumbria, and the implementation of a National Strategy for Low-Level Waste, announced by the UK government in March 2007.

Drigg has been operating since 1959. It underwent a major upgrade in 1995, since when all LLW has been disposed of in engineered concrete vaults. Work to remove all plutonium-contaminated materials from the site for storage at the nearby Sellafield complex was completed in July 2007, bringing to an end a long-term project to remove intermediate-level waste from the repository.

In a press release, Stephen Hanks, president and CEO of Washington Group International, said of the decision: "This selection by the NDA validates exactly what we believed when we put our team together." He described his team - the other consortium members are Studsvik UK, Areva NC and Serco Assurance - as market leaders in nuclear decommissioning and waste management, bringing "unique capabilities to bear on the challenges of the NDA."

The NDA will now embark on detailed contract negotiations with the consortium, which should result in a contract award in October. After the award, a transition period would follow with the consortium taking control of the LLWR in April 2008.

Further information

Washington Group International

NuclearDecommissioning Authority WNA's Nuclear Power in the UnitedKingdom information paper
WNA's Waste Management in theNuclear Fuel Cycle information paper
WNN: UKannounces LLW policy

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