NMP chairman apologises for Sellafield nuclear clean-up bill

 

The head of the consortium running the decontamination
of Sellafield has apologised  for a string of management failures
that has seen the cost of cleaning up the Cumbria site soar beyond £70bn.

Facing a powerful committee of hostile MPs, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) chairman Tom Zarges, said the he was "humbled and we are truly sorry for any of those events that have cost the British taxpayer money".

The costly errors have included nearly £240,000 of inadequately explained expenses claims, the most notorious being a £714 taxi fare for a cat and trips to the US Masters golf tournament.

Public Accounts Committee member Meg Hiller described the expenses as a "financial scandal".

Mr Zarges made a separate apology for the "error we may have made and did make" on up to 606 expenses claims, but argued that this has now been resolved to the “satisfaction of all concerned”.


NMP, which is led by US group URS and also includes France's Areva and London Stock Exchange listed Amec, has been accused of a range if management errors in a 292-page report by accountant KPMG. This showed that 11 of the biggest projects on site, including the construction of a storage facility for radioactive sludge, are £2bn overbudget.

Despite a litany of issues from reporting inaccuracies to having insufficient engineering capabilities at Western Europe’s most complicated nuclear site, NMP was recently awarded an extension to its contract. Unions had wanted NMP fired after running the site through what they view as five error-strewn years, while many national and local politicians were shocked at what they consider to be reward for underperformance.

John Clarke, chief executive at the Nuclear Decommissioning authority that handed NMP the contract, also conceded that his agency’s decision to redact great swathes of the KPMG report may have “gone beyond” what was necessary on legal grounds.

He insisted that this had not been the intention, but committee deputy chairman Richard Bacon said that the effect was the “hiding” of criticisms on NMP, such as whether the aims of the contract were being met.

After the hearing, GMB national secretary for energy Gary Smith said he was concerned that the NDA has only granted the contract extension to NMP following government pressure. He called for “all the paperwork” between minsters and the NDA over the KPMG report to be released to the public.

He said: “The real question is did ministers effectively over-rule the NDA and press for the contract to be extended?” 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
  • Get to the point
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: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing