13th January 2015
“Reports from the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee into decommissioning progress at Sellafield and the operational performance of NMP pointed towards today’s announcement before a contract extension was awarded last year.
“Upon being awarded the Sellafield contract in 2008, NMP made a series of promises to the Sellafield workforce and local community which, after years of dialogue, negotiation and a commitment from the local community to partnership working, have never been fully met. This remains a grave disappointment.
“That said, NMP and its constituent companies contain some outstanding individuals who possess genuine skill, insight and expertise and who will remain involved with operations at Sellafield for the long-term.
“I welcome the constructive response from NMP and Sellafield Ltd to today’s announcement.
“Today’s decision must bring decision-making regarding Sellafield site-operations closer to the local community and workforce. Too often, decisions relating to the site and the community were taken remotely, where the consequences of those decisions could not be felt. This was an unacceptable situation for the local community and the UK taxpayer; Sellafield cannot be managed remotely.
“By removing NMP from the Sellafield contract and changing the operating model of the site, significant additional financial resource is now made available. This is public money and must be used carefully. Consequently the terms and conditions of the Sellafield workforce must be protected and the existing socio-economic commitments of NMP to the community must –as a minimum – be honoured. In addition the 15 month transitional arrangement must be undertaken in a practical, consensual fashion. Changing the operating model should also make it possible to better maximise existing commercial operations and pursue new ones.
“I am now seeking urgent discussions with the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to ensure these requirements.
“With continued Sellafield operations and the imminent construction of new nuclear reactors, West Cumbria has the potential to become one of the fastest growing sub-regional economies anywhere in the United Kingdom. Today’s decision, by streamlining operational arrangements and providing stronger leadership will us help to achieve our ambition of becoming a global centre of nuclear excellence, deliver better progress on the Sellafield site and help to grow a stronger West Cumbrian economy.”