'Nuclear bosses must go' - union

Amicus fears 'tension' is harming clean-up industry
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The Independent Online

Amicus has called on the Government to sack the two men who run the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the body responsible for the UK's state-owned nuclear sites.

The demand was put to Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, in a private meeting last week and was prompted by the protracted sale of Government-owned nuclear clean-up group BNG.

Sir Anthony Cleaver and Dr Ian Oxburgh are chairman and chief executive respectively of the NDA. Dougie Rooney, the national energy officer for Amicus, told Mr Darling that he believed tensions between the two men had contributed to the "shambolic" sale process of BNG, which operates the NDA's sites. Mr Rooney also blamed BNG's parent company, BNFL, for the mess.

The NDA is responsible for creating a competitive market for the estimated £70bn of decommissioning work needed in the UK. But Amicus fears that the proposed sale of BNG - which Mr Darling has yet to approve - would stifle competition by, in effect, excluding UK companies.

"Mr Darling must ... replace the chief executive and chairman of the NDA," Mr Rooney said. "At least one of these positions has to be changed immediately. They should be replaced by a commercial person with a clear remit to perform the NDA role, which is to encourage competition."

The original plan was to sell BNG whole. Then in August, after disagreements between the boards of NDA and BNFL about how to proceed with the sale, they decided to sell its project services contracting division separately. Last month, the two boards also decided to sell BNG's Magnox reactor division.

An NDA spokesman said that suggestions of a rift between Sir Anthony and Dr Roxburgh were "completely untrue".

He added: "The NDA consulted widely on the competition timetable for decommissioning and incorporated many of the comments of stakeholders including the unions."