Nuclear Power Policy

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  • Nov.2018: Moorside: Toshiba decided to wind up its NuGen subsidiary, after failing to find a buyer. Moorside is one of 6 new nuclear projects under development; ministers have said they are necessary to "keep the lights on".[1] In fact, the new nuclear builds are all about taxpayers supporting Trident through their energy bills.
    The govt said "This govt remains committed to new nuclear through the Industrial Strategy Nuclear Sector Deal as well as consenting the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C".[2] Hinkley will force consumers to pay twice the wholesale electricity price, or £92.50 per megawatt hour, for 35 years.[3] National Grid said it had spent £tens of millions in planning; the cost is expected to be recovered from levies on energy bills.[4]
    The National Infrastructure Commission, the govt advisory body, is unequivocal that renewables such as wind and solar are a safer, cheaper option.[5][6]
  • Oct.2018: Hinkley Point C on track.ref
  • Jun.2018:The govt signed a £200m Nuclear Sector Deal to make the UK's energy mix more diverse and affordable. Greg Clark.[7]
  • May.2018: An inquiry into nuclear waste disposal was launched.[8]
  • Dec.2017: The Nuclear Industry Council published its proposals for a Nuclear Sector Deal, which focused on how substantial savings can be made if the govt works with the industry. Odd how the past has proved exactly the opposite. Also odd how the NIC targeted the govt's weak spot. Additionally, the NIC recommended expanding nuclear's contribution to energy goals. Colour me unsurprised.[9]
  • Feb.2017: Nuclear Industry Council re-established following a review by govt and industry. The NIC is the primary forum for engagement between the nuclear industry and govt, and its primary role is to provide strategic leadership to the nuclear industry. Among its responsibilities is oversight of the development and delivery of a Nuclear Sector Deal as part of the govt’s modern Industrial Strategy. Led by the Nuclear Industry Association's Lord Hutton (ex-MP, ex-Gen4 Energy Inc) + MP Richard Harrington, Energy Minister at BEIS. Work is done by the NIA and other industry-led working groups.[10]

British Nuclear Fuels Ltd

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: progress with reducing risk at Sellafield. Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office, Jun.15.2018.

Jul.2018The NDA announced that Magnox Ltd will become an NDA subsidiary from Sept.01.2019. Until then, Cavendish Fluor will continue to manage it.[11]
Conservatives (May)
The Public Accounts Committee harshly criticised the NDA for "an overly complex procurement process", resulting in the wrong bidder being awarded the contract. It said the NDA "drastically under-estimated the scale of the work", and that it raised serious questions about its credibility as a strategic contracting authority. Central govt must also share the blame: HM Treasury and the BEIS approved the NDA's modus operandi, and the Treasury's UK Government Investments utterly failed to oversee the NDA.[12] The cost to the taxpayer for the bungled Magnox affair was circa £121.967 million, not including govt staff costs, or the inquiry costs.
Mar.2017Greg Clark announced a settlement with Energy Solutions and Bechtel for £97.3m. He also announced that the NDA would terminate the contract with CFP in 2018 (9 years early) due to a "significant mismatch" between the work specified in the contract and the work that needs to be done.[13]
Jul.2016Magnox Ltd: The High Court found the NDA had made "manifest errors"; had manipulated the evaluation to ensure Cavendish Fluor was not excluded from the competition (which they should have been); and that the NDA sought to limit the permanent record of what occurred during the evaluation.[13]
Conservatives (Cameron)
Sellafield Ltd: Ownership was transferred to the NDA. Sellafield Ltd is the site licence company responsible for managing and operating Sellafield in Cumbria. Previously, a "parent body organisation model" was in use, with private consortium Nuclear Management Partners being the PBO. The NDA said "Expertise from the private sector will be engaged through multiple smaller contracts, rather than through a single large Parent Body Organisation".[11]
Jan.2015 Sellafield Ltd: The NDA announced the sacking of NMP, and that ownership would revert to the NDA.[14] Energy Minister Edward Davey said the contract termination was due to a change in the commercial model at Sellafield,[15] and praised NMP's work at Dounreay.[16] In the meantime, the NDA's head John Clarke "earns" £508,000 p.a.[17]
Sept.2014 Magnox Ltd: Cavendish Fluor Partnership(Note 1) was awarded the Magnox contract.[11] Energy Solutions and its partner Bechtel, who had bid for the contract but lost, lodged legal claims against the NDA.[13] HM Treasury (George Osborne) and BEIS (Vince Cable) approved the full business case for the Magnox contract.
Oct.2013 Sellafield Ltd: Michael Fallon allowed the NDA to extend NMP's contract for another 5 years. This was despite the work being much delayed and over budget. NMP executives had received £6.6m in bonuses over 3 years; an internal audit revealed that NMP had run up hundreds of thousands in problematic expense claims by executives - taxis for cats, flights to golf tournaments, etc.[18]
Feb.2013 Sellafield Ltd: The Public Accounts Committee published a damning report on Nuclear Management Partners. "Last year the consortium was rewarded with £54m in fees, despite only 2 out of 14 major projects being on track. Taxpayers bear the financial risks. Some £1.6bn is spent at Sellafield each year. The NDA has not been able to demonstrate what value it is getting for the payments made to Sellafield Ltd."[19]
Apr.2012 The NDA put the £6.2bn, 14-year contract for Magnox Ltd out to tender, for services to decommission 2 nuclear research sites and 10 Magnox sites.
Cons/LibDem (Cameron/Clegg)
Magnox Ltd: The Oct.2008 split was reversed; Magnox North and Magnox South were recombined to reduce costs.
Nov.2008 Sellafield Ltd: Nuclear Management Partners were given a 5-year contract by the NDA, with a further 12 year option, to become the Parent Body Organisation for Sellafield Ltd. NMP was a consortium comprising URS, Amec Foster Wheeler and Areva.
Oct.2008Magnox Electric was split into two: Magnox North became the operator of Chapelcross, Hunterston A, Oldbury, Trawsfynydd and Wylfa. Magnox South became the operator of Berkeley, Bradwell, Dungeness, Hinkley Point A and Sizewell A. Both companies continued to be managed by RSMC.
Apr.2008 LLW Repository: international consortium UK Nuclear Waste Management won the 17-year contract (2008-2025) to act as Parent Body Organisation with responsibility for operating and managing the LLWR.[20] The contract was split into 3 periods of 5 years, and one of 2 years. The consortium consists of AECOM (75%), Studsvik (15%), and Orano Cycle (10%).A/cs Mar.31.2018 p.3.
Jul.2007Low Level Waste Repository: The LLW Repository was separated from BNFL's Sellafield site, and a separate company LLW Repository Ltd was formed to hold the Nuclear Site Licence for the Repository.
Labour (Brown)
EnergySolutions EU Ltd acquired 100% of BNFL's Reactor Sites Management Company Ltd. Operational and management responsibilities for the Magnox sites were transferred to them.[21]
Nov.2006Reactor Sites Management Company Ltd: BNFL created a new subsidiary to manage and operate BNFL Magnox Generation on behalf of the NDA. A subsidiary, Magnox Electric Ltd, held the contracts and licences to operate 10 nuclear reactor sites on behalf of the NDA.
Aug.2006The govt decided to break up British Nuclear Group and sell it off piecemeal, instead of as a going concern.[22] The NDA opened up the decommissioning of the sites to tender, and BNFL became one of a number of decommissioning contractors.[23]
Jan.2006 Westinghouse: Toshiba won the auction with a £2.8bn offer.[24] The acquisition was completed in Oct.2006.
Jul.2005Westinghouse: BNFL confirmed controversial plans to sell. Critics said it was shortsighted, as many countries want cheap and environmentally-friendly nuclear energy.[25]
Apr.2005 BNFL underwent a restructuring:

British Nuclear Fuels plc became British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd, and a new holding company was established with the old name British Nuclear Fuels plc. NSTS became Nexia Solutions Ltd; BNFL Inc was renamed BNG America, and became a subsidiary of the group. British Nuclear Group Project Services Ltd; Energy Sales and Trading Ltd; Springfields Fuels Ltd.

Ownership of BNFL's nuclear sites, and nuclear waste transfer companies, Direct Rail Services and International Nuclear Services, were transferred to the NDA.[26]
Late 2004 The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority was established under the Energy Act 2004.[27] Its responsibilities include the operation, decommissioning and clean-up of 17 nuclear reactor and research sites.
Jan.2003 Nuclear Sciences and Technology Services (NSTS): BNFL relaunched its research and development arm.
Jun.2000BNFL took a 22.5% stake in Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (Pty) Ltd in South Africa.ref
Dec.1999 BNFL acquired the nuclear businesses of ABB, which had nuclear interests in Europe, the USA and Asia. They were later hived up into Westinghouse.[28]
Mar.1999 Westinghouse Electric Company, the US-based commercial nuclear power businesses of CBS Corporation, was acquired by BNFL. (see Westinghouse Electric CorporationWikipedia-W.svg).
Labour (Blair)
BNFL Magnox Generation: BNFL took over ownership of Magnox Electric, operating under a new name.
Conservatives (Major)
1994 Direct Rail Services was created to take over British Rail's handling of nuclear material. See also Direct Rail ServicesWikipedia-W.svg.
1990BNFL Inc: A US subsidiary was established, which specialised in decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear sites.
Conservatives (Thatcher)

Capenhurst: ref, ref, ref, DDG search


Conservatives (Thatcher)
New Nuclear Power Programme: David Howell, Secretary of State for Energy, told Parliament that supplies of North Sea oil and gas were likely to decline in the 1990s, and "there must be continuing nuclear power station orders if our long-term energy supplies are to be secured and current industrial uncertainties are to be resolved". This was based on advice from the electricity industry.ref, p.4
Conservatives (Heath)
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd: The UK Atomic Energy Authority operated with two divisions: research and production. The production arm was demerged to form BNFL. Ownership of the LLWR/Drigg site passed to BNFL; it was managed as part of Sellafield until 2007. BNFL inherited the Capenhurst site and the massive Gaseous Diffusion Plant... ref
1957Low Level Waste Repository: Ownership of the LLWR/Drigg site passed to the UK Atomic Energy Authority, to develop it as a Low Level Waste facility. Disposal consisted of waste being tipped into clay-based trenches and covered with layers of stone and soil.[29]
Conservatives (Macmillan)
New sources of oil were discovered ... coal mines beame more efficient, ... interest rates rose. The combination made nuclear power, with its high capital costs, uneconomic.
Aug.1956Sellafield/Calder Hall's 4 Magnox reactors went critical. This was when electricity supply to the national grid began. Sellafield § Calder Hall nuclear power stationWikipedia-W.svg
Conservatives (Eden)
Unions: The UK was suffering from a coal shortage, expected to become increasingly acute. The govt announced a programme of nuclear power station construction to make good the deficiency; over the next 10 years, 12 station were to be built.
Conservatives (Churchill)
UK Atomic Energy Authority: the UKAEA was established under the Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954.[30]The Atomic Energy Research Establishment was incorporated into the UKAEA. Ownership of the Sellafield/Windscape Works passed to the UKAEA.
1948The High Explosive Research project to develop atomic bombs got under way. These included a uranium metal plant at Springfields, two "dual use" nuclear reactors at Sellafield/Windscale Works (the "Windscale Piles"), a plutonium processing plant at Sellafield/Windscale, and a gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment facility at Capenhurst. The reactors were designed principally to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons; the generation of electricity from the excess heat (via steam) was seen as a "free" by-product. The two Windscale reactors became operational in Oct.1950 and Jun.1951. The gaseous diffusion plant at Capenhurst began producing highly enriched uranium in 1954.
Labour (Attlee)
As a consequence, the Atomic Energy Research EstablishmentWikipedia-W.svg was established at RAF Harwell, to further the use and development of nuclear fission for both military purposes and generating energy.ref A production division, headquartered at Risley, was set up; its main task was the large-scape production of weapons-grade plutonium.
1943‑1946During WWII, the UK, US and Canadian govts collaborated on the Manhattan Project, an atomic weapons project. However, after the war, the US govt discontinued cooperation, leaving the UK govt concerned that (a) it might have to fight an aggressor alone, (b) that it would lose its great powerWikipedia-W.svg status, losing prestige and diminishing its influence in world affairs, and (c) that the UK would fall behind, with the US acquiring a monopoly in nuclear development.
The war had left the UK impoverished, its navy depleted, huge bombing damage to housing, its economy ravaged, and massively indebted to the US and Canada to the tune of $5bn. Nevertheless, there remained an implacable belief that the future would be like the past. Ernest Bevin: "Her Majesty's Government does not accept the view ... that we have ceased to be a great power.[31]
Conservatives (Churchill)
A Royal Ordnance Factory was opened at Drigg in Cumbria, for the manufacture of TNT during World War II. At the end of the war, the factory was closed, leaving a legacy of contaminated land that requires continued management.

Note 1: Cavendish Fluor Partnership Ltd (CFP) was formed in Apr.2014 to act as the Parent Body Organisation of Magnox Ltd. and Research Sites Restoration Ltd. CFP is a joint venture between Cavendish Nuclear Ltd (65%) and Fluor Enterprises Inc (35%). Babcock International owns Cavendish Nuclear, and Fluor CorporationWikipedia-W.svg owns Fluor Enterprises. Annual Accounts, Companies House, Mar.31.2015.


  1. ^ Blow for UK energy strategy as Toshiba winds up nuclear project. Emily Gosden, The Times, Nov.08.2018.
  2. ^ Toshiba pulls out of UK nuclear power venture. It has decided to wind up its nuclear arm, NuGeneration, which planned to build the Moorside project. Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live News, Nov.08.2018.
  3. ^ No surprise Toshiba went cold on idea. Alistair Osborne, The Times, Nov.09.2018.
  4. ^ Huge bill as Cumbria nuclear plan is scrapped. Households to pay millions for costs of Moorside project. Emily Gosden, The Times, Nov.10.2018.
  5. ^ Government needs U-turn over mania for nuclear plants. The National Infrastructure Commission's report contains a devastating conclusion: the govt should drop its obsession with building more and more nuclear power stations; more renewables are the low-cost option. Nils Pratley, The Guardian, Jul.10.2018.
  6. ^ Toshiba's failure shows business can't deliver a nuclear future. As Cumbria reactor plan stalls, it is clear that huge resources are needed for such projects. It is clear huge commitments of time, resources and political capital are necessary for infrastructure projects of this scale to get off the ground and through to completion. Phillip Inman, The Guardian, Nov.09.2018.
  7. ^ UK signs £200m sector deal to boost nuclear industry. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the move would drive down energy costs, reduce emissions and improve resilience. Jonny Bairstow, Energy Live News, Jun.28.2018.
  8. ^ MPs launch inquiry into nuclear waste disposal. They will examine the draft National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure’s objective and scope of the guidance for those considering applications. Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live News, May.25.2018.
  9. ^ UK nuclear industry unveils Sector Deal proposals. World Nuclear News, Dec.07.2017.
  10. ^ Nuclear Industry Council., Feb.2017.
  11. ^ a b c NDA to take over management of Magnox sites. World Nuclear News, Jul.03.2018.
  12. ^ The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Magnox contract. The Public Accounts Select Committee,, Feb.27.2018.
  13. ^ a b c The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Magnox contract. Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office, Sept.29.2017.
  14. ^ Sellafield - how the Nuclear Industry fleeced taxpayers. Nuclear Management Partners, the consortium holding a £22bn contract to clean up Sellafield nuclear site was sacked. But this is just the end of a long and scandalous tale of corporate profit at taxpayers' expense, and the active collusion of ministers and senior officials. David Lowry, The Ecologist, Jan.19.2015.
  15. ^ Future management of Sellafield announcement. New, simplified management arrangements to be introduced at Sellafield to ensure the long-term success of the clean-up programme.. Press Release,, Jan.13.2015.
  16. ^ Nuclear Management Partners (Sellafield). Urgent Question by Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make a statement on Nuclear Management Partners and Sellafield., The House of Commons (via They Work For You), Jan.13.2015.
  17. ^ NDA: Biggest Nuclear Slum Lord in Europe? Head “Civil Servant” Makes £508,000. Mining Awareness, Jan.14.2015.
  18. ^ Cat out of the bag over Sellafield chiefs’ expenses. Nic Fildes, The Times, Sept.09.2013.
  19. ^ Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Managing risk at Sellafield. Public Accounts Select Committee,, Feb.04.2013.
  20. ^ LLW Repository Ltd: About Us. Accessed Jun.10.2018.
  21. ^ Annual Report and Financial Statements. Companies House, Mar.31.2008.
  22. ^ Anger as nuclear sell-off is shelved. Power struggle: Sellafield is at the centre of the row over the decommissioning of waste . Katherine Friffiths, The Telegraph, Aug.23.2006.
  23. ^ Government unveils plans for BNG to be broken up and sold. Gary Parkinson, The Independent, Oct.25.2006.
  24. ^ BNFL to sell US power plant arm. Japanese conglomerate Toshiba won the auction with a £2.9bn offer. Toshiba beat bids from General Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Toshiba already designs and builds nuclear power stations in Japan, but Westinghouse would enhance its chances of winning contracts overseas. Industry experts have expressed concern that such an asset is being sold off when the demand for new nuclear power stations is set to surge. Tony Blair's govt has launched a 3-month public consultation into the UK's future energy needs, and has asked the Health & Safety Executive to examine the safety, cost and suitability of the country's existing nuclear power stations. BBC News, Jan.23.2006.
  25. ^ BNFL plans to sell Westinghouse. British Nuclear Fuels confirmed controversial plans to sell its US-based nuclear power station construction unit Westinghouse. BNFL has transferred the majority of its liabilities to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, charged with the decommissioning of the UK's ageing nuclear plants. Half of the UK's 14 nuclear power stations are to be decommissioned between now and 2010, and by 2023 all but one - Sizewell B - will have closed. BBC News, Jul.01.2005.
  26. ^ BNFL: Annual Report and Accounts 2005 British Nuclear Fuels plc, Mar.31.2005. Original archived
  27. ^ Energy Act 2004., Jul.22.2004.
  28. ^ BNFL to Acquire Nuclear Business of ABB PR News Wire, Dec.29.1999. Original archived
  29. ^ Past, Present and Future. LLW Repository Ltd, Mar.26.2018. Original archived
  30. ^ Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954., Jun.04.1954.
  31. ^ The British Nuclear Experience: the Role of Beliefs, Culture, and Identity. In the House of Commons, May.16.1947. John Bayliss, Kristan Stoddart, Oxford University Press, WorldCat, 2015.
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