Sellafield agreement with Progressive Alliance and AXIOM

Two major groups have won the £1.5 billion framework agreement for design services at Sellafield.

 The Progressive Alliance led by Babcock and URS, and AXIOM, a joint venture of AMEC, Assystem, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc and Mott MacDonald have been awarded the framework contract, known as the Design Services Alliance (DSA), projected to extend for 15-years and the first of its kind for Sellafield Ltd.

The DSA framework, potentially worth up to £1.5 billion over the 15 years, will provide Sellafield with access to the full range of multi-disciplined engineering services – civil and structural, mechanical, control and instrumentation, and process – for the development and refurbishment of new and existing facilities and for decommissioning at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria. 

The £1.5bn is the first of an anticipated £9 billion worth of long-term contracts which will be let by Sellafield Ltd over the next two years under a new approach to subcontracting introduced by parent body Nuclear Management Partners.

Through the strategy, the contracts will see Sellafield Ltd establish true alliance-style framework agreements with their suppliers as they undertake the important task of cleaning up and decommissioning Europe’s most complex nuclear site.

The expectation is that by working collaboratively with major contractors like those who form the DSA, Sellafield Ltd will be able to deliver greater quality more efficiently – while assuring industry leading safety performance.

Through the use of longer-term contracts, The DSA will provide the supply chain with planning opportunities for staff development and encourage investments in local infrastructure and resources.
The launch of the DSA – being the first contract to be let in this way – marks a significant milestone for Sellafield and the nuclear industry in the UK.

The DSA includes the delivery of design and safety assessment, construction phases (working with implementation contractors), refurbishment and enhancement design packages, and post-operational clean out and decommissioning support at the Sellafield site in Cumbria. It is structured across eight lots over four capability areas, including mechanical handling; process plant; control, electrical and instrumentation (CE&I); and civil, structural and architectural (CS&A) systems.

Nuclear Management Partners’ Director of Commercial for Sellafield Ltd, Keith Case said; “We are changing the way we acquire goods and services across Sellafield Ltd.

“Effective supply chain engagement through long-term, collaborative alliances is key to Sellafield Ltd delivering and exceeding commitments made in our performance plan. These new contracts will bring stability and certainty to the supply chain and are excellent news for West Cumbria.

“The security offered by the length and value of the contract will encourage partnership working between us, as a customer, and with AXIOM and Progressive Alliance, as our suppliers. They’ll get to know, more accurately, what we want and we’ll see the benefit from working with some of the leading providers of design services in industry.

“That kind of relationship not only engenders a stronger safety culture but also helps us ensure we are delivering maximum value for the tax-payers money which we are entrusted to spend.”
Tom Jones, chair of the AXIOM joint venture, emphasised that full and total co-operation with the local supply chain is the top priority:

“The companies that make up AXIOM have a long established history of working with the supply chain throughout West Cumbria and not only will this continue, but we plan to increase our involvement to ensure that we fully utilise the vast range of skills and expertise available in the area.”

John Parr, who is project director with Progressive Alliance, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract. As an alliance we look forward to working closely with Sellafield in a long-term collaborative approach, to deliver the design and engineering services required safely, cost-effectively, and with maximum efficiency. Sellafield Ltd can rely on the combined experience and expertise of the partners, who are able to offer the people, partnering and performance to ensure successful delivery, and who are committed to continually improving delivery over the long-term duration of the DSA programme.”

Tom Jones, Chairman of the AXIOM joint venture, emphasised that full and total co-operation with the local supply chain is the top priority. “The companies that make up AXIOM have a long established history of working with the supply chain throughout West Cumbria and not only will this continue, but we plan to increase our involvement to ensure that we fully utilise the vast range of skills and expertise available in the area.” 

Sellafield Ltd has worked closely with local stakeholders in advance of the contract award, having announced in August last year that they would partner with Cumbria’s local authorities to give elected representatives and the local supply chain the opportunity to engage in the Sellafield Ltd procurement process.

Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues, Tim Knowles, said: “Sellafield is one of the major employers in the county and it spends billions of pounds on procuring goods and services.

“I have in the past been concerned that too much money was being diverted out of Cumbria and into the hands of major multinationals – but Sellafield Ltd have kept to their commitment to work closely with myself and other stakeholders and have gone to great lengths to help us understand the benefits that the DSA can bring to West Cumbria, both in terms of the site and the local supply chain. I will be watching closely to ensure that those benefits are achieved – but I welcome today’s announcement.”

Copeland Borough Council Leader, Elaine Woodburn, said: “As local elected representatives we have a duty to ensure that Copeland benefits most from being the home of the nuclear industry in the UK. I am pleased with the progress that has been made in terms of Sellafield Ltd and NMP working in partnership with us as stakeholders so that we can be better informed and more involved when large contracts are let, and so that suppliers can better understand the aspirations we have for Copeland and West Cumbria. I look forward to meeting with representatives of AXIOM and Progressive and working with them going forward.”

Sean Balmer, NDA’s Commercial Director “The NDA recognises the important role this kind of contract plays in securing value for money in progressing the decommissioning mission, and it is important we develop a vibrant supply chain at all levels. The close working between Sellafield, its leading contractors and the local community and business representatives should also bring benefits to the wider Cumbrian economy.”

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