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.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits