Balfour Beatty joint venture secures £160m Sellafield deal

A major North East employer has secured a deal to aid the decommissioning of Cumbria's aging nuclear plant

Aerial view of Sellafield
Aerial view of Sellafield

Construction giant Balfour Beatty has secured a lucrative deal as part of the clean-up at Sellafield nuclear plant.

A joint venture between the large North East employer and Babcock has won a £160m contract to build a new facility which will aid the decommissioning of the Cumbrian power plan – a project that will employ more than 300 people.

The venture, in which Balfour Beatty has a 45% stake, will construct a new facility to service equipment that will be used to help retrieve historic radioactive waste from the aging power station’s silos.

The contract is the third and final phase of a project, following on from the £5.5m preliminary design phase and £12.5m detailed design and enabling works.

The new mechanical handling plant will support two existing waste silos with retrieving historic waste and reducing hazard.”

At the heart of the heavily reinforced concrete structure, which will be 25m high, robotic installations will help the Sellafield team to operate in a safe and controlled environment.

Balfour Beatty, which employes more than 850 people across the North East, said it is bringing together its broad range of expertise to deliver the project, including design, procurement, civil engineering, construction and mechanical and electrical capabilities. The company will also train Sellafield’s employees in operating the facility.

A team of more than 100 engineers – including nuclear specialists, civil and structural engineers and architectural technicians – is currently using Building Information Modelling (BIM) to create a 4D design of the project.

Work is scheduled to finish in autumn 2017, and the project will employ more than 300 people at the height of construction.

The firm’s executive chairman Steve Marshall said: “The UK infrastructure market includes significant opportunities for nuclear decommissioning and clean-up activities.

Similarly, new nuclear build and the construction of new power generation projects will bring us an opportunity to deploy our extensive experience.

“Balfour Beatty has a strong heritage in the nuclear sector including our work across the existing fleet of UK nuclear power stations and our 35 year presence at Sellafield. “We look forward to working with Cavendish Nuclear to deliver a facility that will support Sellafield Limited’s overall waste retrieval and hazard reduction programme.“

Balfour Beatty undertakes a considerable amount of work in the North East region, with more recent projects including the electrical and mechanical refit of Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle.

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