According to a report released by the UK’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), mistakes made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) when allocating contracts to clean-up a number of Magnox nuclear reactors and research sites have severely affected the reputation of the authority.
The NDA’s mistakes both disrupted the nuclear decommissioning work and cost taxpayers more than £122m.
The NDA initiated a procurement process between 2012 and 2014 to decommission 12 sites, which included two nuclear research facilities and ten Magnox sites.
Due to its complex procurement process, the NDA awarded the contract to the wrong bidder. Therefore, the decommissioning authority had to subsequently settle a legal claim with the losing consortium with a cost of around £100m.
PAC noted that the NDA also underestimated the volume of work required to decommission the sites when awarding the contract, which resulted in its termination nine years earlier than planned.
PAC deputy chair Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said: “The NDA is entrusted with some of the most important work affecting health and safety matters in the nuclear industry but this sorry affair casts serious doubt on its ability to perform its role effectively.
“From the design and execution of the procurement process onwards, the handling of the Magnox contract has been an appalling piece of mismanagement and financial waste.
“It is wholly unacceptable that some details of what took place should remain so murky, not least the NDA’s inability to fully account for some £500m of taxpayers’ money paid to its previous contractor.”
The committee also believes that the government is also responsible as it cleared NDA’s complicated procurement plan.