Sellafield nuclear cleanup in the UK facing gov’t takeover

Sellafield nuclear cleanup UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Amec Areva URS

The UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is reviewing a $34 billion contract to oversee cleanup of the Sellafield nuclear site after repeated delays, cost overruns, and serious management missteps, The Telegraph reports.

The NDA is reportedly considering not renewing the contract with the three private firms selected to run the cleanup operation—Britain’s Amec, France’s Areva, and URS (NYSE: URS) from the United States. Under that arrangement, the NDA itself would take over management of the operation. Other options include renewing the contract or reopening the tendering process with the possibility of selecting new contractors.

“Ultimately, our decision will be made on the basis of what is most likely to deliver substantial progress in the clean-up programme whilst providing value for money to the tax payer,” said an NDA spokesperson.

Sellafield dates from the Cold War, when it was used primarily to produce plutonium for use in nuclear warheads. The site and its decommissioning process have been fraught with controversy for decades.

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