Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 18:56 UK

Nuclear agency defends pay-outs

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has said that the bonuses paid out to members of staff would be good news for taxpayers.

The Cumbria-based agency, which was set up to oversee the clean-up of the UK's nuclear sites, has released the information in its annual report.

It revealed that some staff members received pay-outs of up to £25,000 on top of their annual salary.

An NDA spokesman said it was important to retain top people.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cumbria, Bill Hamilton from the NDA, said that all bonuses were performance-related.

"Everyone, from the admin assistant to the chief executive, is eligible for bonus dependent on a number of individual or corporate objectives," he said.

There are a number of companies wanting to poach our staff
Bill Hamilton, NDA

"If we were in the private sector we would be one of the top companies in the country. Our budget is nearly £3bn a year and we make commercial income in excess of £1.5bn a year.

"We need to attract the best in the country, and while we pay a good salary we have to offer incentives to retain them.

"Every penny we make takes a penny off the cost of decommissioning the old nuclear sites, and that's really good for taxpayers.

"As an example, we've recently sold land next to three of our sites. Analysts thought we might get £100m or £150m.

"We offered an incentive to our project team through bonuses and they achieved a sale price in excess of £387m."

He said that the UK was going through a "nuclear renaissance" with plans to build up to eight new reactors.

"There are a number of companies wanting to poach our staff," he said.

"But we want to hold on to them, and if we do, it is of benefit to the taxpayer."

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