Metalcraft was chosen not just because of the quality and value for money it could offer to fulfill the contract to the standards required to store nuclear waste, but in particular the socio-economic commitments it made to deliver a package which includes new jobs, apprenticeships and training development to advance the capability of manufacturing skills. In addition Metalcraft has committed to a new facility in West Cumbria for the finishing of boxes for the Phase 2 contract, subject to successful sanction to proceed.
Paul Foster, Sellafield managing director, said: "This announcement demonstrates our total commitment to ensuring value for money for the UK taxpayer and securing a package of benefits to the communities in which we operate, from the annual £1.95bn annual expenditure on Sellafield.
"We recognise that how we work with our supply chain can and should play a fundamental part in supporting socio-economic growth and ensuring that we remain the backbone of the community. Our investment in education, skills and infrastructure must be felt in West Cumbria and the wider UK economy.
Sellafield has worked in close partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and central government to implement a new socio-economic emphasis within their procurement process, as part of their contribution to the economic development aims of West Cumbria and the UK. The new approach had socio-economics built into the procurement process from the very beginning, to ensure the supply chain plays an active role in the community and the UK's Agenda for Growth.
"By running a procurement which includes measurable socio-economic expectations right from the start we will be better placed to ensure that we add as much value as we can in this area, whilst still delivering on what is a vital decommissioning programme," Foster added.
The three metre cube boxes will provide a safe and secure storage solution for historic nuclear waste that is to be retrieved from the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo on the Sellafield site. Metacraft's experience and calibre as long established UK volume manufacturers make them ideally suited to work with Sellafield to help manufacture of 2200 three metre cube boxes.
Retrieving waste from this facility is an integral part of the long term plan to reduce the hazard on Europe's most complex nuclear site, by cleaning up and decommissioning the oldest facilities, some of which date back to the 1940s.
This contract is the first of two contracts to be let to ensure security of supply and an announcement will be made on the second contract shortly. The initial stage will prove volume production can be achieved to the required quality and throughput rate, and then steady state volume production will manufacture the bulk of the boxes.
This is also the first programme of boxes required for the storage of historic nuclear waste at Sellafield and a second larger programme will require the manufacture of thousands more boxes in support of decommissioning a second historic waste storage silo.