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Topic Title: Sellafield MOX Plant Lessons Learned
Topic Summary: Published as a result of a Freedom of Information Request
Created On: 21 May 2013 10:02 PM
Status: Read Only
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 21 May 2013 10:02 PM
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Posts: 1059
Joined: 05 September 2004

"Why did SMP perform so badly?
The original business case assumed that BNFL would acquire Siemens, including its MOX expertise. When the Siemens acquisition was abandoned, BNFL proceeded with SMP nevertheless and relied on its relatively limited in house expertise. As a result, SMP had very significant gaps both in its design and operating capability. This meant that the plant as built was not fit for purpose and struggled from the start with a wide range of operational problems. Construction of the plant before it had been justified resulted in a significant hiatus between completion of construction and the plant entering operations. In addition, the SMP culture (as part of the Sellafield site) was not well suited to a precision manufacturing production facility and for much of its operating life there was an unwillingness to face up to the scale of the problems facing the plant."

"If a decision is made to construct a new MOX plant in the UK, lessons from SMP should be used to inform decision making, planning and execution of the project covering areas including:
 - having the right skills and capability which may involve making use of appropriate third party experience;
 - ensuring there is a good design in place and early resolution of any design issues;
 - realistic costing and planning;
 - avoiding imposition of artificial time and cost constraints;
 - safeguarding value for money (VFM) by seeking to minimise risk exposure of the UK taxpayer through, inter alia, a robust contractual framework;
 - ensuring fit for purpose, consistent operational / safety design criteria that are as far as possible, not modified over time;
 - not carrying on when issues arise until there is clarity on the cost implications and scale of the correction that is required;
 - clarity and consistency in the basis of VFM analysis;
 - ensuring good quality project management including realistic targets, performance metrics and a gated process;
 - ensuring appropriate phasing in the project plan, for example, only building the plant and entering into contracts with customers after justification is in place;
 - ensuring there are robust governance arrangements in place, both with government and with the responsible corporate board, an appropriately qualified governance team with the necessary commercial and financial skills and that government has appropriate levers over its funding commitments and a clear monitoring framework; and
 - addressing cultural issues, including openness, honesty and realistic reporting."

I notice that this report goes out of its way not to pin any explicit blame on the executive management team.

Yes what about addressing the cultural issues, where is the public plan for this.

When will the openness, honesty and realistic [and timely] reporting start emerging from Sellafield?

James Arathoon

James Arathoon

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