Ritchie Slams British Government Over Sellafield Chaos

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South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has hit out at the UK Energy Secretary on the ongoing chaos over the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant.

[caption id="attachment_33754" align="alignright" width="240"]South Down MP Margaret Ritchie is concerned about the perfomances of  clean- up operations at Sellafield. South Down MP Margaret Ritchie is concerned about the perfomances of clean- up operations at Sellafield.[/caption]

Speaking from Westminster Ms Ritchie said: “What confidence or faith can the public have in the new nuclear programme this government is committed to with the ongoing farce over the decommissioning of the plant at Sellafield? The partial reversal of the £20bn procurement decision by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is shocking and shows that the process remains a complete shambles.

“Serious questions must be asked as to why the government renewed this contract last year in the aftermath of a National Audit Office and KPMG report which showed clearly the poor performance of Nuclear Management Partners. These reports pointed to clear failures in the management and structure of the project and should not have been ignored.

“The total cost of Sellafield including legacy waste is an eye-watering £110bn. When it comes to nuclear it seems the UK government never learns and serious questions have to be asked about the new nuclear programme, especially the Moorside site near Sellafield. It is also worrying, but not surprising, that some of the same partners and funders of the new programme, such as Areva, are deeply implicated in the current mess at Sellafield.”

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 Extract from Hansard detailing the question Ms Ritchie asked in the Commons

Ms Margaret Ritchie (South Down) (SDLP): The Public Accounts Committee characterised the lack of speed in decommissioning at Sellafield in terms of missed targets, escalating costs, slipping deadlines and weak leadership. How confident is the Secretary of State that the new model will accelerate decommissioning, cleaning up the legacy waste and dealing with the ponds that presented problems last year?

Mr Davey: The hon. Lady is right that performance at Sellafield has been mixed—we would not have taken the decision if it had all been going terribly well—but I repeat what I have already told the House, which is that performance improved significantly last year. That is why the focus is on the model. She asked whether we believe that the model will improve performance, and we absolutely do: it will reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of management on that complex site.

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