The UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced that a consortium led by Washington Group International and including Studsvik UK, Areva-NC and Serco Assurance is the preferred bidder for the Low Level Waste Repository near Drigg in West Cumbria.

The LLWR competition started in April 2006 with an Invitation to Tender issued in October 2006 and submissions received on 21February.

The NDA will now embark on detailed contract negotiations with the consortium, to be known as UK Nuclear Waste Management, to agree terms and conditions. Subject to satisfactory conclusion of these negotiations, the contract is due to be awarded in October 2007 and will be for an initial period of five years with the potential of further extension periods, subject to performance and NDA management approval, up to a total of 17 years.

As well as the management and operation of the LLWR the contract, worth £200 – £500 million ($400 million – $1 billion) also covers the implementation of a national strategy for low level waste.

Three consortia took part in the competition and the NDA will continue to remain engaged with the other two parties during the contractual negotiations. The other two bidders” are UK Waste Management Solutions – a consortium led by Energy Solutions including BNG Project Services, Fluor and Jacobs; and, BSN Environmental, a consortium led by Babcock Support Services, Stoller and Nukem.