NDA to take over management of Magnox sites

03 July 2018

Magnox Limited - operator of former Magnox nuclear power plant sites in the UK - will become a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) from September 2019. Last year, NDA decided to terminate its contract with Magnox Ltd for managing the sites.

Trawsfynydd, one of the sites managed by Magnox Ltd (Image: Magnox Ltd)

Magnox, owned by Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP), is the management and operations contractor responsible for safely managing 12 nuclear sites and one hydroelectric plant in the UK working for the sites' owner, the NDA. CFP won the GBP6.1 billion (USD8.0 billion) contract in September 2014 in a tender the NDA started in April 2012. However, NDA announced in March 2017 that contract will be terminated in September 2019, after five years rather than its full term of 14 years.

The NDA announced yesterday that Magnox Ltd will become an NDA subsidiary from 1 September 2019. Until that time, CFP will continue to manage Magnox Ltd. The new arrangements have been approved by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, NDA said.

NDA CEO David Peattie said: "This decision marks a new approach to managing the 12 Magnox sites but it is consistent with a similar change we made at Sellafield in 2016, where the simplified approach is resulting in more efficient decommissioning progress."

In April 2016, the NDA become the owner of Sellafield Ltd, the site licence company responsible for managing and operating Sellafield in Cumbria. The new arrangements replaced the parent body organisation model and therefore ownership of Sellafield Ltd by private consortium Nuclear Management Partners.

"In line with a recent change to the way Sellafield (the NDA's largest and most complex site) is managed, expertise from the private sector will be engaged through multiple smaller contracts, rather than through a single large Parent Body Organisation," NDA said.

In a report published in February, the UK parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) concluded that the NDA "dramatically under-estimated" the scale and cost of decommissioning the Magnox sites, which ultimately led to the early termination of the 14-year contract with CFP. The NDA "completely failed" in both the procurement and management of the contract to clean up the Magnox nuclear reactor and research sites, which the committee said is one of the highest value and most important contracts let by the government. The PAC said NDA would have to put "even more effort and money" into finding a suitable way of managing these sites after the contract comes to an official end in September 2019.

An independent inquiry examining the Magnox contract is under way.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News