The Silos Direct-encapsulation Plant project is one of the major decommissioning projects in the UK with a total value estimated between £800m and £1.4bn.
The massive plant is a bespoke, mechanical handling plant that will be used for the clean up of nuclear intermediate level waste.
The large and technically complex treatment plant will manage radioactive liquid waste, which will be mixed with cementitious material in order to store it in containers of Sellafield stores.
The project was retendered after key contractors Vinci and Nuvia withdrew from the project years ago when the contract was halted after significant cost overruns.
The Nuclear Management Partners JV comprising of Areva, Amec and URS was awarded a five-year extension to its £1.8bn-a-year Sellafield clean up job in October 2013.
The project forms an integral part of the waste retrieval and hazard reduction programme for the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos at Sellafield and is of strategic importance to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Scott Reeder, Sellafield’s chief projects officer, said: “The market recognised the challenges presented by this important and complex project and two strong joint venture organisations emerged to tender for the contract.”
Mace chief operating officer for major programmes and infrastructure Jason Millett said the AMA joint venture had been able to “build on its pre-existing relationships in the nuclear market to reach preferred bidder status on a project of significant magnitude”.
However, the Public Accounts Committee criticised AMA JVs performance on the site. The committee’s chair, Margaret, Hodge described the increase in costs of the decommissioning project from £387m in March 2012 to £729m in September 2013 as “astonishing”.
In February of this year, NMP chairman Tom Zarges commented that Sellafield was the most complex nuclear site in the world. “The first term of our contract has been characterised by many successes but also a number of disappointments and areas for improvement,” he said.
Photo Source: Construction Index