A catalogue of errors in the award of a contract to clean the 12 UK nuclear sites has ended up costing the taxpayer £122m, the statutory auditors have found.
The case of decommissioning of the ageing Magnox sites was originally scheduled for last 14 years, but has been cut short after the legal challenges by the business failure.
Now, the National Audit Office has found “shortcomings” in the way the process was managed by the Authority of Nuclear Decommissioning (NDA).
An official investigation is underway.
The £6.2 bn contract was awarded in 2014 to Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a group led by the united KINGDOM engineering firm Babcock International.
But if the NDA had applied the selection criteria correctly, the winning bid would have been disqualified, the office of audit has said.
As a result, the loss of consortium, composed of Energy Solutions and Bechtel, has issued complaints against the NDA for the damage.
Following a decision of the supreme Court in their favour, by 2016, the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, announced in March of this year that the contract would end in August 2019, instead of running until 2028.That nuclear power plants undergoing decommissioning?England
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In addition to the errors in the “flawed” tender process, there was also “a significant disconnect” between what was specified in the contract and what actually needs to be done, the government has admitted.
The NDA agreed to pay for Energy Solutions and Bechtel £97.3 m for the settlement of their legal claims, while he has spent £13.8 million on his own case and £10.8 m on the staff of the house of time.
A government inquiry headed by the former National grid chief executive, Steve Holliday, has been put in place in March and is ongoing.
“The NDA is fundamental failures in the Magnox procurement agreement raise serious questions as to its understanding of the procurement regulations; its ability to manage large, complex procurements; and why the errors found by the High Court judgment have not been identified earlier,” said Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.
“In light of these issues, the department should examine whether its governance and oversight mechanisms surrounding the NDA is sufficiently clear and effective in the delivery of assurance and control required to meet the standards of management of public money.”
Meg Hillier, who chairs the public accounts committee of the house of Commons, said the NDA had broken the basic rules of public procurement”.
“The NDA has been seriously deceived about the work that he had to make on its sites, leaving the present contract, and which has had to cancel nine years earlier. He now has to start from zero,” she said.
“This was one of government is more important than ever that contracts, and it has turned out badly, at the fundamental level.
“Its failure raises serious questions about the NDA, the ability,” she added.