A £140m contract to reduce the height of two nuclear reactors at Magnox North in Wales has been delayed

A £140m job to reduce the height of two nuclear reactors in Trawsfynydd, north Wales, is set to be the first casualty of the government’s slash in spending for nuclear decommissioning.

The Safestore Height Reduction project, which was due to go ahead this year, is being delayed in favour of works to stabilise waste left over from the active days of the reactor, which closed in 1991.

Adrian Jones, project lead for height reduction at Magnox North, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) site licensing company for Trawsfynydd, said: “We have to prioritise spend, and I think they have the priorities right. But it does mean the job will be delayed for five to 10 years.”

Meanwhile, the NDA will ask all 19 of its sites to deliver a £30m reduction in overhead and support costs over the next year, including more efficient delivery of projects.

The news emerged as part of the NDA’s business plan, published yesterday, which states spend will be £2.8bn in 2010/11. This includes £1.5bn at its largest site, Sellafield.

Tony Fountain, NDA chief executive officer, said: “It has never been more important for the NDA to focus on value for money as we seek to progress our clean-up mission over the next year and beyond.”