The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is delaying the competition process for its Magnox South sites due to “issues” raised in feedback from private firms.
The “issues” are widely believed to be centred on industry disappointment about the actual amount of money available through decommissioning contracts and low profit margins.
The UK competition process has been met by increasing scepticism from private firms, which have expressed doubt about whether contracts are worth bidding for.
This speculation has been fuelled by NDA budget cuts.
The nuclear sites involved are: Sizewell A, Bradwell, Berkeley, Hinkley Point A and Dungeness A.
The NDA stated: “Before proceeding with the remaining elements of the competition schedule the NDA is taking the opportunity to reflect on feedback from its ongoing market engagement activity and is reviewing this with government.
“Feedback from the Magnox South industry day and subsequent market engagement identified issues around the sequencing, scope and timing of the remaining competitions and, as a result, the NDA has decided to hold back issuing the pre-qualification questionnaire for the Magnox South 'bundle'.
“This pause in the competition process will enable the NDA and government to consider any lessons learnt from the first two competitions and review the best way forward to ensure we have the optimum timing and scope of competitions for the NDA’s remaining sites in order to attract the highest quality bidding teams to the competitive dialogue process.”
The NDA said its first competition process, for a low-level waste repository in Cumbria, is in its final stages with negotiations currently underway with a preferred bidder.
The second, more complex competition for the Sellafield site licence company (Sellafield, Calder Hall, Capenhurst, and possibly Windscale in future) is progressing and currently in the competitive dialogue stage with four bidders, according to the NDA.
Sizewell A is one of the NDA's Magnox South sites Sizewell A