The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) signed an agreement with Urenco (UUK) in December 2011 to transfer the activities carried out by Sellafield Ltd’s Capenhurst site near Chester to Urenco, subject to the satisfaction of certain legal conditions, including the approval of the relevant regulators to the transfer.
A new Urenco Group company, Capenhurst Nuclear Services Ltd (CNS) has been established to contract with NDA to undertake the remediation work currently being delivered by Sellafield Ltd.
Meanwhile, Urenco UK Ltd has submitted its applications both for a single nuclear site licence covering the whole of the Capenhurst site and for new Environmental Permits which will allow both Urenco UK and CNS to conduct compliant operations. This application is now subject to formal assessment by regulators.
Key to achieving this major change is a satisfactory outcome for Sellafield Ltd staff and the agency and contract supplied workers who support our business.
Positive moves have resulted in all employed staff being able to adopt their preferred options i.e. either transferring to the new Urenco company, CNS, continuing to work for Sellafield Ltd either at Risley or Sellafield, or leaving the company on voluntary severance.
In addition, Urenco is working with Capita (who supply our agency workers) to identify future opportunities. Throughout the process, we have worked closely and effectively with the local and national trades unions and maintained an excellent relationship.
Mike Baily, Sellafield Ltd Capenhurst head of site integration project said: “With regard to staff who wish to remain with Sellafield Ltd, everyone has been allocated a specific role. The process of reabsorbtion has already commenced with a phased return between now and the point of transfer.
“Those people who are leaving on voluntary severance are receiving support to help secure new opportunities, while people transitioning to CNS are also receiving support such as independent financial advice with their pensions.”
A key part of the deal is the removal of Energy Act designations from parcels of land on the site, which will allow them to be sold to Urenco by the NDA. This has the benefit of raising much needed revenue for the Treasury while freeing up further land for future use by Urenco to develop their business at Capenhurst. Sellafield Ltd has successfully completed the necessary remedial work to support this process.
The next key phases of activity within Sellafield Ltd relate to helping Urenco deliver a successful relicensing and we have commenced ‘Shadow Governance’, a process designed to show that future control of CNS activities by Urenco UK Ltd in accordance with its nuclear site licence will be successful, whilst ensuring that Sellafield Ltd continues to discharge its own responsibilities.
Nick Welch, head of Sellafield Ltd Capenhurst added: “The good work between Sellafield Ltd, Urenco and the NDA continues to take the project forward, there is still a lot of work to do but we are all committed to achieving a safe transfer in line with the necessary permissions from our regulators. This transition remains in the longer term interest of the staff, the companies concerned, the NDA, and the UK tax payer.”