BNFL launches nuclear clean-up business

Publish date: May 6, 2004

British Nuclear Fuels Plc (BNFL) launched a new daughter-company called the British Nuclear Group. The Business is intended to apply for lucrative decommissioning contracts at different kinds of British nuclear sites.

In April next year the British Government intends to establish a new Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in the United Kingdom (UK). The body will provide overall management and direction for clean up at nuclear sites in the UK. More than 40 nuclear reactors have been in operation in the UK, and it is the future decommissioning and clean-up work at these sites the NDA will be in charge of.

The NDA is not intended carrying out the clean-up work itself. Instead it will place contracts on different site licensees. By establishing the British Nuclear Group, BNFL is positioning itself to apply for some of these future clean-up contracts.

More than fifty years of British nuclear programme has left behind vast amounts of contaminated buildings, and radioactive waste. Now the mess has to be cleaned up. The cost of the nuclear legacy is currently estimated at some £ 48 billion in total. This figure represents the best estimates based on current knowledge and technology. In practice however, there are uncertainties about what needs to be done to deal with particular installations or waste. Initial estimates put the NDA’s operating cost in the range of £25-30 million per year.

The clean-up programme is expected to take more than 100 years to complete,