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Serco - Battelle - University of Manchester consortium named as Recommended Bidder to run National Nuclear Laboratory

Date: 23 Mar 2009

A consortium of Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester has today been named Recommended Bidder to run the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

The announcement was made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the consortium management team will now work with the department to ensure a swift and effective transition to the new management team under the 'GOCO' (Government Owned Contractor Operated) model.  The new contract is expected to be signed in time for service commencement at the beginning of April.  The contract is for an initial three year period with two further option years.

The NNL was launched formally in July 2008 by John Hutton, then Secretary of State for Business.  The lab brings together expert nuclear research capabilities of Nexia Solutions with world-class nuclear facilities, such as the new Central Laboratory at Sellafield.  The objectives are for the lab to become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research, to play a central role in cleaning up the UK's nuclear waste legacy and to contribute to the programme of nuclear new build.  As such, it will be at the heart of delivering the government's nuclear energy policy as part of creating a low-carbon economy. 

Between them, the consortium members have the first class nuclear, management and commercial experience necessary to achieve the government's ambitions for NNL as a successful nuclear technology laboratory, world renowned for its exceptional staff, cutting edge facilities and excellent value for money. 

Mike Lawrence of Battelle will lead the new NNL management team as Managing Director.  He brings over forty years' experience of nuclear matters to the task, including management of the US Hanford Reservation and its massive site cleanup programme, and his former role as US Councillor on nuclear matters to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mike and his colleagues are working from today to ensure a smooth start to the new contract at the beginning of April.  They will seek to engage early on with NNL staff and other key stakeholders including the local community around the NNL's facilities in the North West, including West Cumbria, and Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

From day one of the new contract, their focus will be on positioning NNL as the employer of choice for nuclear scientists and engineers, and working in partnership with customers to deliver valuable solutions to the challenges faced by the national and international nuclear market.

Bob McGuiness, Chief Executive of Serco's nuclear business, said: "We put together a very strong consortium, unrivalled in its experience of managing and exploiting the benefits of science and innovation.  We are very happy that we will now have the opportunity to put our vision for NNL in to practice, and are really looking forward to engaging with the excellent staff team at NNL to ensure its long term future and commercial success."

Jeff Wadsworth, President and CEO of Battelle, said: "We will work in partnership with employees, unions and customers to safely and securely deliver world-class performance at the NNL sites. We will work to ensure that the NNL becomes a core element of the UK's Nuclear Programme and contributes to the global nuclear renaissance."

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: "The University of Manchester has a long tradition of being at the forefront of nuclear research, and we are delighted to be part of the consortium that has been named as Recommended Bidder for the NNL.  The NNL already has a highly skilled workforce. Working with our consortium partners, we are committed to ensuring it becomes a world-renowned centre of nuclear science and technology."

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Last Updated: 23 Mar 2009