GMB Want A Viable Future For Sellafield As NDA Extend Contract For The NMP Consortium To Run The Site
Government must start talking about a proper strategy for the nuclear industry in the UK with Sellafield at its centre says GMB.
GMB, the union for workers in the nuclear industry, commented on the decision by Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) that Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) will continue to run the Sellafield site. See notes to editors for copy of NDA press release.
There was a break clause after five years in the 17-year £22bn contract to run Sellafield which NDA granted NMP in 2009. NMP is a consortium led by the American URS Corporation alongside the British engineering group Amec and the French nuclear business Arevaa. This contract has now been extended.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “This is as much as anything an ideological decision. The Coalition would not countenance bringing the contract brought back in house even if it was the most sensible option. We expect the NDA to publish the findings of the report they commissioned on the future of the contract.
GMB is very concerned that this announcement was widely trailed. Somebody involved in the process must have been briefing the press. This needs to be addressed.
GMB has always said that we would respect any decision made by the NDA. The fact is the NDA in making this decision is really under scrutiny itself as a result. NDA has presided over all the scandals and mess relating to the previous contract.
GMB respect the decision but we will not allow it to be business as usual with directors preaching austerity to the workforce whilst having their snouts in the trough. GMB also won't allow NMP, Sellafield Limited or the NDA to let down the local community.
GMB want a viable future for this site and we expect all parties to support us in making the case for a viable future for Sellafield. Sellafield is too important to the local community and the wider national interests to be allowed to die.
The best long-term solution is to manage nuclear waste at Sellafield. The site has great skills and experience. The local community are supportive of the nuclear industry too. Local people know the economic benefits the industry brings to West Cumbria.
However, we have been very clear with the NDA, GMB support for a repository at Sellafield wouldn't be unconditional. We aren't going to support turning Sellafield into a nuclear graveyard and nuclear dump.
GMB want government to start talking to us about a proper strategy for the nuclear industry in the UK, with Sellafield at its centre. It is imperative that the NDA and Government stop trying to kick the can down the road and lead the community and workforce by the nose.
GMB want concrete plans for the future of the Sellafield site. Sellafield can be a huge asset for the country with the right strategic plan and leadership.”
Contact: Gary Smith 07710 618 909 or Chris Jukes 07870 176 733 or 0191 233 3930 or GMB press office 07921 289880
Notes to editors
Copy of press release
SELLAFIELD CONTRACT - Press/Web Statement for release on October 4th
NDA Announces Sellafield Contract Extension
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has today announced its intention to extend the Sellafield contract with Nuclear Management Partners (the consortium comprising of URS, AMEC and Areva) into a second five year period. The first 5 year period of the 17 year contract comes to an end in March 2014.
Commenting on the decision, NDA CEO, John Clarke, said: “Sellafield is by far the most complex and challenging site in our portfolio, and we are determined to drive improved performance at the site. We have reviewed progress under the contract to date and concluded that the right decision is to extend the contract to give NMP further time to bring about the improvements in capability and performance at the site that we and they are looking for.”
“Both NMP and the NDA now have a much better understanding of the issues and complexities that exist at the site and the challenges that lie ahead. Whilst progress is being made on a number of fronts we will require significant improvements during the next period. We have had extensive discussions with NMP and made clear where these improvements must be made. We will continue to monitor performance closely and remain focussed on achieving our goal of safe, effective, value for money decommissioning at Sellafield – as we are seeing elsewhere across our portfolio of sites.”
“We look forward to working with the Sellafield management team to support them in the successful implementation of their plans, and we remain committed to exploring ways to maximise the local economic benefits of the enormous £1.8 billion annual expenditure programme at the site.”
Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC, said: “Sellafield remains the Government’s top priority in our nuclear decommissioning programme. We support this decision to extend the contract which will build on skills and expertise at the site and the progress made so far.”
Tom Zarges, Chairman of NMP, said: “The task at Sellafield is unprecedented. We have learnt an enormous amount about the challenges of the site and the areas that we need to focus on looking forward. We believe we are well placed to build on our progress to date and deliver improved performance in the next period.”
Notes to editors:
NMP won the competition to act as the parent body organisation for Sellafield Limited in 2008. Sellafield Limited is the site licence company which employs 10,000 people to manage and operate the Sellafield site under contract to the NDA.