UK Government OKs sale of BNG by BNFL

Publish date: April 3, 2006

Britain’s embattled BNFL group has gained the right to sell British Nuclear Group (BNG), its subsidiary clean-up operation, meaning the group―which is best known for its decommissioning activities at Britain’s Sellafield site–will now become a private entity.

The right to put the group up for sale came last week from the Britain’s secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry Alan Johnson, which runs the UK’s recently-formed Nuclear Decommissioning Authority or NDA, which has the responsibility of safely decommissioning the UK’s aging nuclear sites, one of which is Sellafield.

BNFL’s Chief Executive Michael Parker greeted the news enthusiastically.

“The sale is a positive strategic move for both the business and our employees. It gives the business the opportunity of increased performance and at the same time gives our employees increased career opportunities and the chance to earn a better future, “ he said in a statement last Thursday.

“We now look forward to working closely with the […] NDA to develop the criteria against which preferred bidders will be selected. I expect that there will be significant interest from potential purchasers.”

Lawrie Haynes, British Nuclear Group’s Chief Executive, said: “A strong British Nuclear Group means strong competition and that can only be good news for the NDA and the UK taxpayer. The stronger we are, the better placed we are to safely deliver what I call ‘Big V’, that is the value we can create for UK taxpayer by reducing the overall lifetime bill for cleaning up the UK’s nuclear legacy.

He added that BNG would deliver this value by making real progress in safely cleaning up the sites, actively managing the supply chain while at the same time demonstrating our clear commitment to the communities in which BNG operates.

“The right buyer will enable us to complement our skills with theirs to create a powerful player in the global nuclear clean-up market and ‘raise the bar’ in terms of subsequent competitions. This delivers enhanced value to the NDA by accelerating nuclear clean-up in the UK,” said Haynes.

There are as yet no clear buyers for BNG, but media speculation has indicated that Fluor, Halliburton and Bechtel are eyeing the group.