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Business Comment

Mark Leftly: Exposing the high price of nuclear decontamination bids


Westminster Outlook A quick shout out to Dr David Lowry, the foremost scourge of the UK’s  nuclear authorities. His dogged use of the Freedom of Information Act is why we know the extent of the private-sector mismanagement of the £70bn clean-up of the Sellafield plant in Cumbria.

Among his latest treasure trove is a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority briefing to government from December. There is a tiny detail that shows just how much financial risk companies such as the US engineer Bechtel and Britain’s Atkins are taking on these huge nuclear decontamination deals: it costs every consortium £15m to £20m when they bid for these deals. That is a scandalous sum for even big businesses  to have to risk on  the bid alone.