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25 June 03

            Draft Nuclear Sites and Radioactive Substances Bill (Pdf file)

UKAEA is determined to be the chosen supplier of choice to the new Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) for the management of its former nuclear research sites.

Commenting on the publication of the draft Nuclear Sites and Radioactive Substances Bill, UKAEA Chief Executive, John McKeown, said, "I welcome the publication of this draft Bill which paves the way for a new era in nuclear legacy management giving it the national importance it deserves. The Memorandum of Understanding with the regulators, published with the Bill, is also essential if the NDA is to succeed. The NDA must work closely with the regulators on decommissioning policy and standards for site restoration.

"The Government's proposals give UKAEA the opportunity to be the supplier of choice to the new NDA. If we deliver, they also hold the possibility for a wider role for UKAEA in UK nuclear liability management. We intend to make the most of these opportunities focussing first on delivery at our present sites.

"UKAEA has a head start in realising our ambitions. Our pioneering approach has introduced competition into nuclear site cleanup and at the same time we have developed the essential in-house skills and experience required to manage a complex, long term decommissioning programme. We have also built mutually beneficial relationships with the communities around our sites. These are essential if we are to continue the momentum of the site restoration work.

"But we also recognise that becoming supplier of choice is not a right. We have to gear up our performance to meet the requirements of the NDA. The company is already repositioning itself to fulfil the NDA requirements and I am confident that we will do this and more.

"I am pleased that the role of UKAEA's Thurso pensions office has been recognised in the Bill's provisions. It provides a highly efficient service with the prospect for additional work in the future as the industry re-structures.

UKAEA is responsible for managing the decommissioning and environmental restoration of its former nuclear research sites at Dounreay, Scotland, Windscale, Cumbria, Harwell, Oxfordshire, and Winfrith, Dorset. The eventual aim is to restore them for conventional use. Harwell and Winfrith are already being transformed into science and technology business centres.

UKAEA also manages the UK contribution to the fusion energy programme at its Culham site, Oxfordshire. The UKAEA Constabulary protects UKAEA, BNFL and URENCO nuclear sites.

To date, UKAEA has dismantled 18 major radioactive facilities including six research reactors. It has also produced detailed plans for the restoration of all its sites.

The estimated cost of its liabilities (undiscounted) is 8.9 billion. Total turnover is 373 million. 70% of UKAEA's total expenditure of 345 million is placed with external organisations.

Dti - Managing The Nuclear Legacy