Following a mandatory 10-day standstill period, a three-month transition phase will begin during which the contract between the NDA and Babcock Dounreay Partnership will be finalised with the aim of awarding the contract in April 2012. Babcock Dounreay Partnership is a specially created private sector consortium comprising Babcock Nuclear Services Ltd, CH2M Hill and URS Holdings (UK) Ltd.
The transition period provides time for members of the new executive team to introduce themselves to the existing management and workforce, and undertake a handover period from existing management.
Following successful transition Babcock Dounreay Partnership will become the new Parent Body Organisation and take ownership through share transfer of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), the Site Licence Company at the Scottish site.
The competitive process continues until share transfer on 2 April, and the NDA intends that the non-preferred bid remains in reserve until then.
While this does not represent the end of the procurement, today’s news signals a major milestone in the competitive process to secure a world-class parent body for DSRL. The contract will be the first to take an NDA site to an Interim End State.
Key criteria for the competition were that bids should accelerate the current 2038 closure date by at least six years while reducing costs by at least £500 million.
Tony Fountain, NDA Chief Executive, said:
“The selection of Babcock Dounreay Partnership as the preferred bidder is a significant step in our drive to attract world-class management and innovation to our sites.
“We have undergone a comprehensive and rigorous process aimed at securing the best possible parent body for this challenging site. Babcock Dounreay Partnership bring a successful track record and extensive nuclear experience that will bring enormous benefits to the decommissioning and clean-up programme.
“We had a number of threshold criteria and these were all met and, in some instances, well exceeded the minimum requirements.”
John Thurso, MP for Caithness Sutherland & Easter Ross, said:
“Since its inception Dounreay has been a world leading centre of technological innovation and that innovation and skill will continue to be required through the decommissioning process.
“I welcome the announcement of the preferred bidder and I look forward to working with them to ensure that, in addition to the undoubted technological legacy of Dounreay, the Far North’s economy remains a growing, vibrant, skill-based economy that will take us forward for another half century.”
The partnership between Babcock Dounreay Partnership and the NDA will deliver increased performance and value for money for the taxpayer.
DSRL are responsible for decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear site. The incumbent PBO, Babcock-owned UKAEA, will hand over to the new PBO at the beginning of April 2012, when the shares will be transferred, marking completion of one of the most significant public sector contracts to be awarded in 2012.