Part of Atomic Energy Authority sold off

The Government has sold the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which employs people in west Cumbria, to a private firm for £50m.

The Government has sold the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which employs people in west Cumbria, to a private firm for £50m.

 

Defence and energy support services firm Babcock International now owns UKAEA Ltd, which handles decommissioning work for the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency in Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands, Winfrith in Dorset and Harwell in Oxfordshire.

 

Secretary of State for Business Lord Mandelson claimed the sale "is good news for UKAEA Ltd and its employees". He said: "The sale will allow the company, as part of Babcock International, to continue its development and take advantage of new opportunities in the nuclear industry. It also generates good value for the taxpayer."

 

The sale of UKAEA is the first of its kind under a Government efficiency programme and follows a decision by the authority to build up its commercial arm "to a point at which it can operate independently".

 

Selling off the business will "help to reinforce the UK's strong heritage in the nuclear industry and provide a platform for the further development of skills in this important marketplace", according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

 

The UKAEA sell-off has been criticised by the Conservative Party, which questioned its timing and said it may be motivated from a short-term need to increase public finances.

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