Treasury mandarins have launched an investigation into a taxpayer contract for the clean-up of Britain’s biggest nuclear waste dump. Officials are understood to have ordered a review of a multimillion-pound competition run by the state-owned Sellafield site in Cumbria, which will see a team of consultants hired to work on the decontamination project. The review follows a damning High Court judgment in July on the botched procurement of a £7bn deal by Sellafield’s parent, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Concerns over the authority’s procurement processes prompted the Treasury decision to review Sellafield’s efforts to hire a “strategic partner”, sources said. That is likely to delay the award of the new contract, which is thought to have attracted interest from companies such as Amec, CH2M Hill, Bechtel and Fluor. The decommissioning authority said: “This is an important piece of work and therefore it is essential that the process is right, and provides value to the taxpayer.” Sellafield needs to recruit help because Whitehall tore up its previous management model last year after a string of scandals. A 17-year, £22bn turnover contract to decommission the site was scrapped. It was held by a consortium of Amec, Areva and URS. A judge ruled in July that the authority had “manipulated” and “fudged” a separate tender to clean up former Magnox power plants. It could face £200m-plus claims for compensation, and is seeking leave to appeal.
Times 11th Sept 2016 read more »