Nuclear decommissioner seeks contractor to build its Big Box facility


Sellafield is retendering for a contractor to build a £120m decommissioning facility at its site in Cumbria.

The Big Encapsulation Plant Product Store project, known as the Big Box, involves building an above ground storage facility for intermediate level nuclear waste.

The job also involves designing and building the Direct Import Facility, which is used for packaging the waste before it enters storage.

The winning bidder will be required to design, procure, manufacture, install, test, and commission all the elements of the facility and the store.

This is the fourth time a contractor has been sought to build the Big Box.

A joint venture between Jacobs, Atkins and Carillion was appointed to work on the project in 1997, but it was halted in 2002 - after some of the facilities had already been partially built - due to a high level of technical uncertainty in the project.

In 2010, a joint venture between Babcock and Balfour Beatty entered early contractor engagement with Sellafield on the project. But the scheme was later changed and a new procurement process was run last year.

However, Sellafield said an “insufficient” number of firms were successful at the pre-qualification questionnaire stage of the tender process and it could not ensure there was genuine competition.

Bidders have until 7 April to register their interest in the project on Sellafield’s tendering portal.