Nuclear, Waste Management & Decommissioning

BNFL announces £1.1bn loss amid rising decommissioning costs

11 July 2003 – British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) has announced a £1.1bn ($1.8bn) pre-tax loss in its annual results compared to £2.3bn a year earlier.

The figures include an increased cash figure for the decommissioning costs of the Hinkley Point and Bradwell facilities which had originally been expected to be £380m – an estimate which has now been revised up by the company by an additional £415m.

The move comes as BNFL has indicated that it has yet to put a definite figure on the decommissioning costs of all eight Magnox facilities, having only worked out estimates for the aforementioned first two sites. Under the government’s recent changes, BNFL will retain responsibility for the Magnox plants with the soon-to-be-established Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) taking on the financial responsibility with the Sellafield reprocessing site in Cumbria.

The uncertainty has led to the shelving of plans to partly-privatize BNFL. The company’s chairman Hugh Collum said, “The Government has decided that a flotation of the company after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been formed should no longer be an option. Going forward our focus will be on developing a strategy which will allow us to become a key player with a successful future in the nuclear industry and in particular the competitive clean-up market in the UK.”