Second £50m contract for Sellafield’s historical waste

Sellafield 200Sellafield Ltd has announced that Darchem Engineering Ltd has been awarded a contract potentially valued at up to £50 million, for the provision of high-integrity steel storage containers for nuclear waste.

This is the second contact to supply three metre cubed boxes, the first of which was awarded to Metalcraft earlier in May, which will together total some £100 million.

Metalcraft was chosen not just because of the quality and value for money it could offer to fulfill the contract to the standards required to safely store nuclear waste, but because the socio-economic commitments it made to deliver a package which includes new jobs and apprenticeships.  Darchem is already committed to West Cumbria and has an office in the area and has previous experience in supplying to Sellafield; including providing an access gantry to support the recent retrieval of radioactive sludge from the one of our historic nuclear fuel storage ponds.

Paul Foster, Sellafield Ltd Managing Director, said: “This announcement demonstrates our total commitment to ensuring value for money for the UK taxpayer, whilst underpinning a relentless drive for risk and hazard reduction at Sellafield.”

Commercial Head of Decommissioning Dave Magrath said: “We directly support 20,000 direct jobs and spend £1bn a year in the local economy, but we can do better. We have therefore committed to help grow the local supply chain capability through, for instance, our significant investment in Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC).   They are working with local suppliers to submit bids for work at Sellafield and there’s another opportunity coming up with a second, larger, contract to manufacture thousands more boxes for the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo.”

Sellafield Ltd has worked in close partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and central government to implement a procurement process with a greater socio-economic emphasis, as part of our contribution to the economic development aims of West Cumbria and the UK. The new approach had socio-economics built into the procurement process from the very beginning, to ensure the supply chain plays an active role in the community and the UK’s Agenda for Growth.

“The success of this procurement is not it doubt – it has delivered a competitive solution which offers value to the taxpayer, and supports UK business, SMEs and businesses in a deprived area.” Foster added.

The three metre cubed boxes will provide a safe and secure storage solution for historic nuclear waste that is to be retrieved from the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo on the Sellafield site. Darchem and Metacraft will have to prove volume production can be achieved to the required quality and throughput rate in the first phase of the contract. The second phase for steady state volume production to manufacture in total some 2200 three metre cubed boxes will then be awarded subject to performance.

Retrieving waste from this facility is an integral part of the long term plan to reduce the hazard on Europe’s most complex nuclear site, by cleaning up and decommissioning the oldest facilities, some of which date back to the 1940s.

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