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Washington team preferred bidder for £17bn Sellafield job

A consortium of URS-owned Washington Group, Amec and Areva was today named as the preferred bidder to run the clean up of Sellafield, potentially Europe's largest ever publicly-awarded contract.

Should the team, named Nuclear Management Partners, be successful in moving forwards from preferred bidder stage, it will be handed a contract by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) worth £1.3bn per year. The consortium will act as the Parent Body Organisation (PBO) for the Sellafield site, managing its decommissioning process.

The contract will be for an initial period of five years, but could run up to 17 years.

"The selection of Nuclear Management Partners as the preferred PBO bidder is a significant step forward in the NDA's drive to attract world class management and innovation to the UK's nuclear decommissioning industry," said NDA chief executive Ian Roxborough.

"Nuclear Management Partners have emerged from a very strong field of four bidders, all of whom surpassed the evaluation threshold. The NDA will now move towards contract finalisation and ultimately the award of this contract, the successful implementation of which is crucial to the mission of the overall clean-up and decommissioning of the UK’s existing nuclear legacy."

The consortium saw off rival bids from CH2M Hill, a Fluor and Toshiba joint venture, and a consortium of Serco,Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox. If the eventual winner of the deal runs the contract to its full term of 17 years, it will be the largest publicly funded contract ever awarded in Europe.

"This competition involves one of, if not the, most significant public sector procurements for UK PLC," said NDA chairman Stephen Henwood.

"The importance of achieving world class performance throughout the Sellafield sites cannot be underestimated."

The Sellafield PBO will own the shares in Sellafield Ltd, the site license company (SLC). The Sellafield SLC manages and operates, on behalf of the NDA, the reprocessing and waste storage facilities at Sellafield, the former nuclear power stations Calder Hall and Windscale (all in West Cumbria), the Capenhurst nuclear site and an Engineering Design Centre at Risley in Cheshire.

The NDA will now enter into a period of contract finalisation with Nuclear Management Partners prior to a decision on the award of the contract in October.

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