The UK's Sellafield Ltd has signed 10-year framework agreements for decommissioning work at its site in Cumbria with four consortia as part of its Decommissioning Delivery Partnership (DDP) framework.
DDP is an essential part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA's) strategy for delivering its work programmes between 2015 and 2025. Framework agreements are also being finalised with two other consortia that were successful in the initial tendering process, and they will be confirmed once legal and commercial arrangements are in place, it added.
The four confirmed consortia comprise 12 companies, 11 of which are based in, or have a significant presence in, Cumbria. They have all committed at least 20% of their sub-contracting spend with small- to medium-sized enterprises.
Integrated Decommissioning Solutions comprises Energy Solutions EU Ltd, Hertel (UK) Ltd, North West Projects Ltd and Westlakes Engineering Ltd. The Nexus Decommissioning Alliance comprises Costain Oil, Gas and Process. Cumbria Nuclear Solutions Ltd (CNSL) includes Shepley Engineers, James Fisher Nuclear Ltd, REACT Engineering Ltd, Jacobs Stobbarts, Westinghouse Electric Company UK Ltd, and WYG Engineering Ltd. The Decommissioning Alliance includes Jacobs UK Ltd, Energy Solutions EU Limited, and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Ltd.
Tom Foster, chief decommissioning officer at Sellafield Ltd, said the DDP will be a key part of the company's mission to reduce the risk at the Sellafield site "by getting waste out of high-hazard facilities as soon as possible". The work to be carried out under the DDP has already been mapped out as part of Sellafield's existing performance plan. But there is "extra headroom" in the framework of up to GBP1.5bn ($2.15bn), Sellafield said, depending on how it prioritises and delivers its work.
John Kipling, Westinghouse head of UK Decommissioning, Decontamination and Waste Management, said its contract commitments will be delivered by Westinghouse in West Cumbria, with support from the wider Westinghouse UK team based at Springfields and Chorley, Kipling added.
Jacobs said the 10-year framework enables the consortium to work collaboratively with Sellafield Ltd to provide a strategic approach to project and program planning and delivery. It also allows the supply chain to "help shape work packages that bring better value and drive accelerated delivery". Jacobs vice president for UK Nuclear and Defence Alan Seywright said, extending its collaboration to include its supply chain is a "further important factor in delivering our innovative approach".
Sellafield Ltd said the selected companies have pledged to adopt a 'local first' recruitment approach, give 150 jobs to 'under-represented or disadvantaged' people, create up to 240 new apprenticeships, and provide training, school outreach and business mentoring. These commitments will be written into the contract, meaning companies would lose out financially if they fail to deliver.
Paul Foster, managing director of Sellafield Ltd, said the DDP will place "socioeconomic outcomes at the heart of the contract from the outset and by holding contractors to account on delivery".
He added: "We have listened to our stakeholders and worked with government, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and our supply chain to design a responsible, sustainable procurement that uses public sector contracts to unlock investment from the private sector, backed up by the power of a legally binding contract."
NDA will take ownership of Sellafield Ltd from 1 April as part of reforms to management of the site announced in January 2015 as a result of which private consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) lost its GBP9bn contract as the site's Parent Body Organisation (PBO). As the Site Licence Company operating the site under the ownership of the PBO, Sellafield Ltd said its clean up mission and strategy remain unchanged "at the day-to-day operational level".
Sellafield Ltd said earlier in January that it will make efficiency savings in order to stay within its GBP2bn budget for the next financial year which was agreed as part of the government's Spending Review, announced in November.
NDA funds innovation
In a separate development, NDA announced on 28 January that it is contributing between GBP500,000 and GP1.5m to encouraging smaller businesses to find new ways of solving technical challenges in the energy industry. The contribution means Innovate UK's Energy Game Changer initiative will now be able to distribute a total of GBP2m, seeking to benefit from the novel approaches of innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) who currently operate outside the energy sector, NDA said.
The fund is designed to encourage new entrants into all sectors of the industry, including oil, gas and nuclear, but the NDA is particularly interested in technologies that could be applied to decommissioning. Innovate UK is the government's innovation-driving agency, working across all industrial sectors. The NDA has been collaborating with the agency over the last few years to stimulate and encourage innovative ideas that could be deployed to meet challenges at its sites.
Allocation of funding will take place through a competitive process led by Innovate UK, which starts on 28 March, with SMEs welcome to submit stand-alone project ideas or working collaboratively with partner organisations of any size.
Melanie Brownridge, the NDA's Head of Technology, said: "Innovative solutions can mean that our decommissioning work is achieved more safely, sooner, and at a lower cost for the taxpayer. We want to stimulate the development and adoption of novel, emerging techniques as alternatives to established technologies as a means of improving the way we do things."