Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Posted in:

Sellafield Model Change Programme

The arrangements for managing Europe’s most complex nuclear site are changing

A new model is being created to give sellafield ltd maximum opportunity for achieving improved performance and delivering value for money.

We catch up with George Beveridge, Sellafield Ltd’s Deputy Managing Director, Pete Lutwyche, the NDA’s Sellafield Programme Director, and Iain Irving, NMP General Manager, to find out what this means…

George Beveridge is clear that this is about doing the right thing for Sellafield Ltd: “We face major challenges and complexities in cleaning up some of the world’s oldest nuclear facilities and it involves enormous amounts of money. “This means that there is continual scrutiny on the progress we’re making and the value we’re providing to the UK tax payer. Some good progress has been made on the site in recent years, but there is a demand on us to accelerate the pace. The mission at Sellafield is difficult and we will continue to face uncertainty but we share the desires of the NDA and our stakeholders for improved performance.”

In January 2015 the Government announced a change to management arrangements for Sellafield Ltd.

Work to bring about the change in ownership is being led by the NDA and Sellafield Ltd, and supported by Nuclear Management Partners (NMP).

Pete Lutwyche explains that when it comes to defining the new model, it’s clearly a matter for Sellafield Ltd and the NDA, “but it’s essential that all three organisations work together to make sure we have a safe, smooth handover period.” Iain Irving adds: “We may be parting company but we want to leave on good terms – we’ve put a lot of work into Sellafield Ltd over the last seven years and we are committed to helping with this transition.”

The Sellafield Model Change Programme team is charged with developing the best possible model for managing the site in the future and determining the benefits it can deliver. Work is well under way to determine the new arrangements.

The overall intention is to create simpler management arrangements more suited to Sellafield’s uncertainty and long term outcomes.

Pete explains: “We want to move away from a tight commercial contract and create arrangements that are more flexible and can better accommodate change, which is inevitable on a site like Sellafield. We want to ensure that the organisation has the right environment for success.”

The NDA, which already owns the site, will also become the owner of Sellafield Ltd.

For George it means that the interfaces between NDA and Sellafield Ltd will be simpler, more effective and clearer: “This will help us to improve performance and create greater accountability and transparency and build the confidence of our stakeholders.”

The change is also aimed at bringing about a more appropriate public-private sector interface and create the right levels of appetite for commercial risk.

Pete continues: “We have a chance to help Sellafield Ltd get things done better, quicker and ultimately more efficiently. This will be helped by engaging the supply chain at the right level.”

Private sector expertise will continue to play a major part at the site and Sellafield Ltd will acquire support in order to become a market-enhanced (rather than market-owned) Site Licence Company (SLC).

The new model will see Sellafield Ltd continuing to develop a strong supply chain, which plays a vital role in the work we do. “Developing new management arrangements
however, gives us a unique opportunity to determine the very best ways of working with the private sector,” adds George.

Under the new model Sellafield Ltd will become a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), rather than being owned by a private sector ‘parent’.

Over the last few months the Sellafield Ltd procurement team has undertaken a period of ‘soft’ market engagement to determine how the capability and capacity of Sellafield Ltd can best be enhanced through the deployment of private sector expertise. The team has gained valuable insight from organisations involved in existing collaborative arrangements in both the public and private sector. This together with the work to determine the strategic requirements of the SLC will help shape a procurement proposition and draft acquisition strategy. These will be tested with the supply chain later this year.

The NDA is also confident that the new model will create better continuity of leadership for the site given that the executive team will almost exclusively be employed by Sellafield Ltd. The appointments will draw on the best from the organisation and from the wider market.

Despite the changes ahead, George is quick to point out that the job for Sellafield Ltd remains the same; its mission is to safely and securely manage the site, deliver decommissioning progress and return value to taxpayers on the investment. “We’ve achieved the company’s best-ever levels of safety performance in the last two years and the workforce deserves praise for achieving and maintaining these exemplary records.

Our priority is to maintain this focus on safety through the transition period. It’s non-negotiable that we have to keep ourselves, the public and the environment safe. If we don’t, it makes it virtually impossible to do the rest. We’ve made major inroads in decommissioning – removing sludge from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond was a great moment earlier this year, for example, and it’s important that the new model creates an opportunity to build on this momentum and impressive level of performance.

Sellafield Ltd will acquire support from the market, including a strategic partners or partners, to help drive performance improvement.

Maintaining and building upon the improving trends is also important for NMP. The consortium of URS (now AECOM), Amec Foster Wheeler and Areva has held the parent body organisation contract for Sellafield Ltd since the current model’s creation in 2008. The model was established by the NDA to help bring worldwide expertise and resources to the site, and has successfully supported the site’s shift in focus from reprocessing to decommissioning.

Iain says: “We are proud of our tenure and of the workforce’s achievements. Most importantly, I think, NMP has embedded the strong safety culture delivering record performance that George has mentioned, as well as overseeing the first retrievals in 50 years from the historic fuel ponds and the world’s first fully decommissioned commercial-scale nuclear reactor. We’ve also provided more than £24m for the local community, working with organisations like Britain’s Energy Coast to invest it in projects to help people and businesses in west Cumbria. Everyone wants Sellafield Ltd to be successful in its mission and we are proud to have been able to support its progress.”