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Firms shortlisted for £750m Sellafield design deal

Three consultants have been shortlisted to become main design partner for major projects at Sellafield decommissioning plant for the next 20 years, Construction News can reveal.

CN understands that Amec Foster Wheeler, Cavendish Nuclear and Jacobs have all made it through to the second round of bidding for the £750m deal to become the client’s engineering and design partner at the Cumbrian site.

The firms will be battling it out for the role of designer across Sellafield’s 20-year construction programme, which is expected to cost in the region of £4.5bn.

The successful consultant will be responsible for multi-discipline design and engineering of all the planned major projects at the site.

Sellafield has already earmarked three projects to kick off the programme – the SPRS Retreatment Plant, SIXEP Contingency Plant and the Replacement Analytical Project – worth up to £1.74bn in total.

The engineering design partner package is one of four contracts to be procured as part of Sellafield’s new 20-year programme and project partner scheme.

Last week, Construction News revealed that Aecom, KBR and MWH had been shortlisted for the scheme’s £750m integration partner lot.

The client is also procuring for two contractor roles: the construction partner contract, worth approximately £1.5bn; and a process construction partner deal, valued at around £1.5bn.

The winner of the designer lot will also be responsible for co-ordinating input from the two chosen contractors in a bid to improve efficiency and cut down on costs.

A Sellafield spokeswoman confirmed it had successfully completed the prequalification phase of the programme and project partner (PPP) procurement.

She added: “A number of organisations have been chosen to progress to the next stage of the procurement: the invitation to negotiate. We will not be commenting on the identity of the shortlisted organisations at this stage.”

The PPP programme will mark a step-change in the way Sellafield procures construction work, with the client moving away from project-by-project procurement.

Sellafield is the UK’s largest nuclear decommissioning site, with the latest government estimates predicting that the full cost of cleaning up the site could top £53bn and last well into the next century.

The news of the shortlist comes just a few days after Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority served Cavendish Fluor Partnership a termination notice for the its management and decommissioning deal covering 12 Magnox nuclear plants, including Sellafield.

In March, energy secretary Greg Clark announced the decision to end the 14-year contract signed in 2014 within two years after a “flawed” procurement process was understood to have left the deal open to further legal challenges.

In August, an Amec Foster Wheeler joint venture with Interserve landed a £160m deal to provide engineering support services at the site for the next four years.

It has also worked on a number of different projects at Sellafield, including the £600m Box Encapsulation Plant, and held a place on lot three of the site’s decommissioning delivery partnership, worth £125m over 10 years.

Jacobs also has a presence at the Cumbrian site after landing a place on the client’s 10-year decommissioning framework as part of the Decommissioning Alliance team alongside Energy Solutions and Westinghouse.

Cavendish Nuclear declined to comment. Amec Foster Wheeler was unable to comment. Jacobs has been contacted for comment.

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