The UK government has outlined the future of BNFL's nuclear clean-up and research arms as it approved plans to break up and sell off British Nuclear Group and announced its intention to establish a new National Nuclear Laboratory.

<p>Accepting the joint recommendation of the boards of BNFL and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), ministers have agreed that British Nuclear Group (BNG) should be split up before being sold off.<br /><br />The reactor sites business will be sold as a whole, but separately from other parts of BNG, while BNFL and NDA have agreed that their priority at Sellafield should be to support the creation of a competitive nuclear clean-up market in the UK and, in particular, to prepare the site for competition as safely and quickly as possible. This will enable the NDA to run a full competition for the Sellafield contract in the earliest possible timescale.<br /><br />The proposed way forward means that the competition for Sellafield can now move forward without the added complexity of a sale, whilst the timetable for Magnox competitions is unaffected, commented NDA chief executive Dr Ian Roxburgh.<br /><br />Ministers have also announced their intention to establish a new National Nuclear Laboratory, to be formed out of the British Technology Centre at Sellafield and Nexia Solutions, the research company currently owned by BNFL.</p>