GMB calls for overhaul of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority after blunders cost taxpayer £122m

Courtney Goldsmith
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Decommissioning Of Nuclear Power Stations In The UK
The decommissioning of the Magnox nuclear sites was originally set to last 14 years but was cut short (Source: Getty)

The union for nuclear workers has called for an overhaul of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) after a blunder it made was found to have cost the taxpayer £122m.

The National Audit Office (NAO) today published a report revealing "fundamental failures" in the way the NDA handled a contract award to clean up a fleet of 12 UK nuclear sites.

The NDA awarded a £6.2bn contract to Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a group headed by Babcock International, in 2014 - but the contract was cancelled early after legal challenges by unsuccessful firms over the "flawed" bidding process. A government inquiry is ongoing.

Read more: Thousands of workers at the Sellafield nuclear site to go on strike

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said the issues "raise serious questions" about the NDA's understanding of procurement regulations and its ability to manage large, complex procurements.

The GMB union said the NDA was "not fit for purpose" and requires a "wholesale overhaul".

“GMB had been on the record for years warning that the NDA was dysfunctional under its past leadership and not fit for purpose," said Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for energy.

"Whilst most of those responsible for this mess may have gone, the National Audit Office’s confirmation that the British taxpayer was fleeced due to the NDA’s incompetence supports GMB’s long held view that a radical re-think is needed under new chief executive David Peattie of the role and responsibilities of the authority."

GMB said the agency in its current form should be scrapped and redesignated as the Nuclear Development Agency.

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