The decision to bring back the controversial decommissioning of Britain’s Magnox nuclear reactors under the control of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is ‘long overdue’.

Unite, the country’s largest union, welcomed the decision by business secretary Greg Clark to give the thumbs up for the NDA to create a wholly owned subsidiary to manage the Magnox sites from September 2019.

The union is calling for talks with the new management set-up to seek assurances about the workforce’s pay, and terms and conditions. 

Unite has repeatedly called for the ‘cleaning up’ of the Magnox nuclear reactors to be taken back into public control, following the NDA’s decision last year to end its 14-year contract with Cavendish Flour Partnership (CFP), awarded in 2014, to decommission the redundant Magnox sites. 

The High Court had ruled that the NDA had failed to treat all bidders the same when it awarded the 2014 contract to clean up the reactors.

Unite acting national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said today (Monday 2 July): “This decision is long overdue. The 2014 contract should not have been awarded to any organisation.

“It should have been brought directly under the control of government rather than costing the taxpayer up to £122 million in compensation to the failed bidders, EnergySolutions and Bechtel.

“We need to ensure the taxpayer gets value for money through the transfer of the business and it is not paid for at the expense of the workforce.

“We will be seeking a meeting with the new board of directors at the subsidiary, once it is in place, to seek guarantees about employees’ terms and condition of employment.”  

CFP will continue to manage Magnox Ltd until 1 September 2019. Unite has 45,000 members in the energy sector.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.