Four consortia, including one led by US enginnering firm Bechtel, are reportedly in the running for the £20bn contract to decommission Cumbria's Sellafield nuclear power station.
The Bechtel consortium, which includes the UK's Serco, was said to have performed best in Nuclear Decommissioning Authority tests of the four consortia planning to table bids for the Seascale site next month. The three other consortia are made up of US firm Washington Group, the UK's Amec and French firm Areva; Fluor and Toshiba; and CH2M Hill.
All bids must be lodged with the NDA by 7 April and, despite losing five of its 18 directors – including legal director Fiona Hammond and commercial chief Mark Leggett – in the past two months, the NDA is emphatic that the multibillion pound competition remains on track.
Sellafield will account for about half of the £70bn worth of contracts the NDA is to award to clean up the UK's old nuclear sites.
The winning bidder will be awarded an initial five-year £5bn contract to begin this summer, but the winner is likely to see the contract extended for another 15 years at least.