The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has awarded research and development framework contracts under its Direct Research Portfolio (DRP) worth up to GBP12m ($17m) to a series of consortia involving over 70 organizations. The NDA launched tenders for the contracts in November 2015, setting the deadline of 6-13 January, depending on the area of research. The DRP addresses issues that could affect multiple sites, or site licence companies, in areas of strategy, technology innovation and skills. These projects are delivered through tendered framework contracts awarded to a wide range of supply chain organisations.

The contracts focus on research in three main areas: university interactions; integrated waste management and site decommissioning and remediation; and, used fuel and nuclear materials. A single consortium, led by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and supported by Frazer-Nash Consulting, has been awarded the contract covering university interactions, NDA announced on 9 May.

Six consortia – led by Amec Foster Wheeler, Arcadis Consulting, Arup, Eden NE, Galson Sciences and NSG Environmental – have been awarded framework contracts related to integrated waste management and site decommissioning and remediation. Other contracts, related to used fuel and nuclear materials, have been awarded to three consortia led by Amec Foster Wheeler, Areva NC and NNL.

The NDA said the DRP is an important, high-profile part of its R&D strategy and commissions work across the supply chain to: inform the development of our strategy; find innovative solutions for use across multiple sites; and maintain and develop vital technical skills. The DRP framework contracts will also address cross-industry R&D requirements identified by the Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning Research Forum, the NDA said. It noted that DRP projects often lead to more extensive R&D projects carried out by site licence companies and the supply chain. The combined annual R&D expenditure by the NDA and the site licence companies is typically more than GBP85m.