Exclusive: Shock over new contract for Sellafield companies

 

Associate Business Editor

Unions and MPs have reacted with shock to yesterday’s announcement that the companies that have overseen cost overruns and delays in the clean-up of Sellafield have been given a new five-year contract.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, told The Independent that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will “have a job justifying” the decision to hand Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) a new five-year deal. The consortium – made up of Britain’s Amec, URS in America and France’s Areva – were found by the committee to have been behind schedule on 12 of 14 major projects at the Cumbria site last year.

The costs of the most complicated decontamination in Europe and North America are already above £70bn, and it was widely thought that NMP would be axed from the project.

NMP  had been awarded a contract that could ultimately last 17 years, but the deal contained clauses that meant it could lose the deal in March 2014. In July, the accountancy firm KPMG looked into whether the NDA should bring the clean-up back into public sector hands, but it is believed there was a lack of staff and expertise for taking decontamination back in-house. Unions have demanded to see the contents of the KPMG review, the existence of which  was revealed by  The Independent on Sunday in July.

An industry source said: “It’s surprising that this decision has been reached given the well-documented failings of the consortium, which to date has provided questionable value to the taxpayer.”

Gary Smith, the GMB union’s national secretary for energy, added: “This is an ideological and a bad decision, but we need to move on and focus on [sorting out] the site.”

Ms Hodges’ committee will meet the NDA and NMP early next month to discuss the failings of the contract so far. This is expected to take a whole afternoon, when these sessions usually last around 45 minutes. 

NMP’s chairman, Tom Zarges, said: “Over the past five years, NMP stabilised high-hazard facilities, began clean-up and retrievals years ahead of the original schedule, achieved the best safety performance in site history, and delivered hundreds of millions of pounds in efficiency savings.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable