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Wednesday, 01 April 2015

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Sudden stop to building work on new Sellafield plant

Work has suddenly come to a stop on a major Sellafield project – and many contractors may now be at risk of losing their jobs.

Construction has halted temporarily on a silos encapsulation plant, aimed at helping to reduce hazards on the site, because an urgent engineering review has to be carried out. That means construction workers may have to be laid off while it takes place.

A Sellafield spokesman said: “We are aware that our decision is likely to have an impact on the number of contracting staff working on the project and the main sub-contractor (Vinci) has taken steps to inform its workforce that redundancies are likely.

“Although issues such as these are common in contracting work, it is always regrettable when jobs are at risk. We will be working closely with Vinci and Nuvia over the coming days and weeks to establish how our decision will impact their workforce but our initial understanding is that there may be up to 100 people involved.”

Explaining the reason for the expected lay-offs, the spokesman added: “We are currently undertaking an engineering review of a complex project which is at an important point in its development to ensure we proceed into the next stage on a strong basis.

“As part of this review, construction work on the project has been temporarily suspended while we focus our attention on design engineering work.

“This decision has not been taken lightly. It is in no way a reflection on the performance of the contractors who have been working hard to accelerate the site based work on the project over recent months.”

The new silos will support decommissioning work by processing waste retrieved from the Magnox Swarf storage silos.

It is regarded as one of the high hazard decommissioning projects on the site.

Threatened industrial action by more than 100 Mitie contract staff employed on the site has been called off pending more talks with the GMB union.


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