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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 July, 2003, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Loss-making BNFL looks to future
Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant

Nuclear power producer and reprocessor BNFL has revealed annual losses of 1.09 bn after one-off costs during the year hit more than 800m.

The performance for the period to 31 March is an improvement on the record losses of 2.32 bn of a year earlier.

But losses at an operating level widened to 190m from the 68m recorded in 2002.

Chairman Hugh Collum said the year had been "demanding" but progress had been made in laying the foundations for the company's future, which is likely to increasingly focus on the nuclear clean-up market in the UK.

Mr Collum said: "The last year was certainly demanding for BNFL, but it was one in which further progress was made in laying the ground for the company's future development."

After the figures were released on Wednesday, a Greenpeace spokesman said: "Nuclear power - and the means by which the resulting radioactive waste and spent fuel are dealt with - are inherently uneconomic and can no longer be supported."

Electricity prices

It said it welcomed recent government plans to establish the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to clear up the "radioactive legacy" left by 50 years of nuclear power and weapons development.

The proposed transfer of BNFL sites to the NDA will pave the way for a services company able to compete for contracts in the decommissioning process.

The company presently operates in 16 countries and employs more than 23,000 people.

In the annual results, BNFL maintained turnover at 2.2 bn but saw operating losses increase, partly because planned maintenance work resulted in reduced output at BNFL's Thorp plant at Sellafield.

It was also affected by lower electricity prices and the employment of 1,000 extra staff to meet the requirements of a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate's report on control and supervision of operations at Sellafield.

Clean-up contracts

Exceptional items totalling 827m included a 415m increase in the expected cost of decommissioning stations at Hinkley Point, Somerset and Bradwell Magnox, Essex.

There was also a 230m accounting charge after a contract with British Energy was renegotiated, leading to a review of the value of BNFL's nuclear fuel manufacturing plant at Springfields, near Preston.

Another 175m of provisions were taken against two nuclear clean-up contracts in the United States taken on several years ago at fixed prices.

Despite the losses, the company added it had improved its cash management with a positive cash flow of 109m.

'Murky finances' of nuclear legacy
04 Jul 02  |  UK News
Nuclear clean-up costs soar
04 Jul 02  |  UK News
Nuclear sell-off back on agenda
28 Nov 01  |  Politics

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