It is a good thing that the UK is to end its outsourcing of nuclear clean-ups and will probably sort out its own radioactive mess after the contract for decommissioning of atomic reactors collapses. The recent Magnox fiasco, involving 12 Magnox nuclear plants, has drawn attention to the business of nuclear decommissioning and its heavy burden on the public purse. A burden upon which we as tax payers should not contribute to organisations hefty profits, when we as tax payers are fronting all the risks.
It now seems fairly clear that the decommissioning Britain’s first generation of atomic reactors will be brought back “in-house” by the UK nuclear clean-up agency after the collapse of a £6.2bn outsourcing contract that exposed “fundamental failures” in the organisation.
A report by the National Audit Office recently stated that there had been some real bungling in one of the largest contracts awarded by the UK government. The criticisms raised “serious questions” about how to manage large, complex procurements. Interim findings had revealed a catalogue of human errors and systemic failings.
There is no doubt that to project manage enormously complex projects like the decommissioning of 12 nuclear plants a whole host of rigorous and robust portfolio project management needs to be in place. A final decision has not yet been made but industry figures say the most likely outcome will be for the NDA to create a new subsidiary to take control of the Magnox clean-up programme.
A subsidiary is good news as it keeps the business in the UK but whomever gets the task will need to clearly define what order they are going to do the projects in and have systems that work so as to enable them to properly manage the clean-up.