Sellafield Ltd, the company managing the UK’s fuel cycle complex in Cumbria, has announced the preferred bidder for a project to create a custom waste treatment plant to process legacy fuel materials from the UK’s first generation Magnox nuclear fleet.

The so-called Silos Direct-Encapsulation Plant (SDP) project will be the responsibility of a joint venture dubbed "a.m.a", comprising France’s Areva and the British companies Mace and Atkins.

The a.m.a. joint venture will complete the engineering design, procurement, construction, and commissioning related activities for the new facility.
Sellafield Ltd said it would now enter a period of Preferred Bidder Clarification and confirmation of commitment with a.m.a. while the contract is finalised and all legal processes are completed.

The final contract award will require approval from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Areva said the project would mobilise several hundred people and make use of the local supply chain as much as possible.

“Areva was able to demonstrate the value of its experience in managing end of nuclear fuel cycle activities, especially in Europe and the United States," said Dominique Mockly, senior executive vice president in Areva’s Back End Business Group.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said it has entered a Transition Agreement with Cavendish Fluor Partnership, named on 31 March as preferred bidder in the competition to appoint a Parent Body Organisation for the Magnox Ltd and RSRL site licence companies.
This marks the next step in finalising the procurement process that will culminate in contract award in September 2014.

Image: The Magnox store at Sellafield. Courtesy of Sellafield Ltd