Safety Fears Force Blair to Shelve Pounds 1.5bn Privatisation of BNFL ; but Furore as MoD Says It Can Run Nuclear Arms Plant at Aldermaston

By Colin Brown and Steve Connor | The Independent (London, England), March 3, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Safety Fears Force Blair to Shelve Pounds 1.5bn Privatisation of BNFL ; but Furore as MoD Says It Can Run Nuclear Arms Plant at Aldermaston


Colin Brown and Steve Connor, The Independent (London, England)


MINISTERS SHELVED the pounds 1.5bn part-privatisation of British Nuclear Fuels last night because of the continuing safety fears surrounding the company.

The controversy about the business was fuelled by a subsequent announcement that, despite the concerns, a consortium to which it belongs will be allowed to run the Ministry of Defence's atomic weapons establishment at Aldermaston.

The consortium, AWE Management, was awarded the pounds 2.2bn contract from the Ministry of Defence last December to run the site in Berkshire but a review was ordered after the damning safety criticisms of BNFL prompted by an investigation by The Independent.

The Energy minister, Helen Liddell, admitted to MPs yesterday that events at the Sellafield plant in Cumbria, which the firm operates, had been "a setback" to the privatisation scheme.

Any sale would have to be delayed until BNFL had had time to respond to Health and Safety Executive reports on the Sellafield site by improving its safety and commercial performance, she said.

The earliest possible date for the introduction of any element of public- private partnership would now be late 2002 - coincidentally after the latest possible date for the election of May 2002 - Mrs Liddell said.

The Conservative Energy spokesman Nick Gibb condemned the sell- off delay, which he said would jeopardise jobs and "postpone the development of effective management at BNFL".

BNFL has been at the centre of a string of controversies over recent months, after The Independent revealed that workers had falsified documentation for reprocessed fuel destined for Japan.

Japan, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have all suspended deliveries of fuel.

And a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate report condemned "serious management failures" at BNFL and threatened to shut Sellafield down unless a raft of 28 safety improvements was pushed through.

The Irish and Danish governments began moves earlier this week to have Sellafield closed under international treaties on marine pollution.

Yesterday's announcements were seen as a move by the Government to shore up international confidence in the company.

The Government admitted that the falsification of safety records at Sellafield had damaged the company.

During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Blair told the Commons: "Ministers have made it very clear to the chairman of BNFL that we want to see big changes in the way BNFL is run and managed.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Safety Fears Force Blair to Shelve Pounds 1.5bn Privatisation of BNFL ; but Furore as MoD Says It Can Run Nuclear Arms Plant at Aldermaston
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?