BNFL to cease donations to US political parties

British Nuclear Fuels, the state-owned reprocessing company, yesterday announced that it was banning any further financial donations to US political parties.

The announcement followed the revelation that BNFL has paid $300,000 (£193,000) to Republican and Democrat groups in the past four years including £109,000 in the financial year just gone.

Some of the donations, channelled through the company's North American subsidiaries, were made without the knowledge of Norman Askew, BNFL's chief executive.

Hugh Collum, the chairman, said: "These payments should not have been made and they will not be made in the future."

The ban on further financial donations came as BNFL confirmed it made a £2.3bn pre-tax loss last year after a huge increase in its liabilities for decommissioning its nuclear facilities.

BNFL has taken a £1.935bn charge to cover an increase in its historic liabilities and a £375m charge to cover the early closure of its Calder Hall and Chapelcross Magnox reactors.

Despite the huge loss, the biggest in BNFL's history, Mr Askew said the underlying profitability of the group had improved markedly. Profits from operations before exceptional items were £22m compared with a £210m loss in 2000-01.

Mr Collum said he welcomed the Government's go-ahead for a new Liabilities Management Agency (LMA), which will take BNFL's £40.5bn in liabilities onto its books, paving the way for the part-privatisation of BNFL's commercial activities.

But he conceded the partial flotation of the business would not now take place until after the next election in 2006 at the earliest.

Privately, BNFL executives believe that Nirex, the body set up to find a new deep underground depository should be brought under the umbrella of the LMA. Presently Nirex is 75 per cent owned by BNFL with the remainder held by British Energy and the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Mr Collum said that nuclear power was now "firmly back on the agenda" but he conceded that a new generation of nuclear reactors would not be built until government had decided what to do with the waste produced by the current generation.

Mr Askew said the UK could take a leaf out of America's book where Congress had agreed to construct a long-term storage facility for spent fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, paving the way for new nuclear reactors.

All four of BNFL's divisions contributed to the turnaround last year. The fuel manufacturing and services division, which consists principally of Westinghouse, increased profits from £52m to £78m while its nuclear decommissioning and cleanup division turned a £66m loss into a £27m profit. The Sellafield spent fuel business increased operating profits from £3m to £32m while losses from the Magnox electricity generation division fell from £191m to £115m.

Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn