New bidders for £120m Big Box project


New bidders for £120m Big Box project


The bidding competition last year for the delivery of the £120m Box Encapsulation Plant Product Store and Direct Import Facility proved to be unsuccessful as there was a general lack of interest for the project.


However recently, the nuclear waste processor has attracted firms interested in bidding for the half-finished job.


Sellafield is retendering for a contractor to build a £120m decommissioning facility at its site in Cumbria.


The Big Encapsulation Plant Product Store project, known as the Big Box, includes building an above ground storage facility for nuclear waste of intermediate level.


The winning bidder is expected to design and build the Direct Import Facility, which is used for packaging the waste before it enters the storage area.


Additionally, the bidder will be required to design, procure, manufacture, install, test, and commission all the elements of the facility and the store.


Interested bidders have until 7 April to register their interest in the project on Sellafield’s tendering portal.


The “Big Box” project has a chequered history; this is the fourth time a contractor has been sought to complete its construction.


A joint venture between Jacobs, Atkins and Carillion was selected to work on the project in 1997. But the venture stopped the works in 2002, after some of the facilities had already been partially built, due to the risks associated with the high level of technical uncertainty in the project.


In 2010, a joint venture between Babcock and Balfour Beatty entered early contractor engagement with Sellafield on the scheme. However due to the project changes later on in the year, the procurement process had to be restarted again.


According to Sellafield, “insufficient” number of firms were successful at the pre-qualification questionnaire stage of the tender process last year, and due to lack of genuine competition, it could not choose a suitable bidder.