Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: priorities and progress

NDA's priorities and progress are outlined in our Strategy, Business Plan, Performance Reports, and Annual Report and Accounts.

Our top priorities are safety, security, environmental responsibility and providing value for taxpayers’ money.

Plans for decommissioning and clean-up activities on our sites are based on our Strategy and the budget allocated to NDA.

These activities are:

  • outlined in advance in our Business Plan
  • reported on during the year
  • reported on at the end of the year in our Annual Report and Accounts

Our work programme is moving at speed and we have made significant progress, including reducing the risks around our most hazardous sites.

2005 to 2015: 10 years of progress

What we have achieved so far…

Since our creation in 2005, we have:

  • developed a detailed understanding of the legacy and produced the first-ever UK-wide strategy for tackling it
  • prioritised funds towards the highest hazards
  • reshaped the industry and introduced international delivery partners
  • delivered value for money by driving performance and efficiency
  • maximised income to reduce cost to taxpayers – over £10 billion of income in the last nine years – including £470 million from land sales to new nuclear operators
  • invested in skills to build the future capability of the UK’s nuclear workforce
  • developed our approach to open and transparent engagement with stakeholders
  • worked with communities in priority areas to help them plan for sustainable futures

What we expect to achieve in the future…

During the next 10 years we expect…

  • all Magnox stations defuelled and spent fuel reprocessed to long-term stable form
  • 4 Magnox sites to have entered Care and Maintenance
  • progress on high hazard reduction, including retrievals from Legacy Ponds and Silos at Sellafield
  • all NDA’s non-core assets to have been disposed of

During the next 20 years we expect…

  • all other Magnox sites to have entered Care and Maintenance
  • decommissioning to have been completed at Harwell and Winfrith
  • at Dounreay, all Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) to have been removed from the shaft and all residues removed from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR)
  • at LLWR, the Plutonium Contaminated Material (PCM) facilities to have been removed
  • confirmation of a site’s suitability to host a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)

Our role

We implement policies set by government. The devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for developing their own policies in this area.

How we implement these policies is set out in our Strategy, which develops over time to reflect any policy changes introduced by government. UK government and the Scottish ministers approve our Strategy and business plans.

We deliver our role through 5 overarching core processes:

1. Strategy

Our strategy is reviewed every 5 years and provides the framework for delivering our mission on behalf of government. It sets out our strategic direction and long term objectives and determines what the NDA is going to do to deliver its policy obligations. We’ve developed a Strategy Management System to support the development of strategic options and make decisions on a series of distinct issues.

2. Planning

Our plans set out how we will deliver the key outcomes required to achieve our mission in the right timeframe and within the funding agreed with government.

The planning process helps us to make estate-wide decisions over the short and long term and ensures we are prepared for government spending reviews.

Our Business Plan provides:

  • a 20 year overview of estate activities
  • planned activities across the estate within the next 3 years

3. Contracting

The contracting process enables us to run competitions and put in place contractual arrangements for the management and operation of SLCs using contracts with both the SLCs and the PBOs.

Our contracts provide a framework for setting out our requirements and expectations and are designed to:

  • deliver our desired outcomes
  • enable effective performance management
  • provide appropriate reward to our contractors

4. Managing performance

We manage the performance of SLCs through relevant contract mechanisms. We do this by analysing:

  • performance and programme / project plans
  • proposals for managing deviations from plans

We ensure that the SLCs comply with their contracts and deliver the required outcomes. Using appropriate contractual mechanisms, incentives and governance frameworks, we rigorously verify claims ensuring that there is robust professional challenge and dialogue as appropriate. We report performance of the SLCs to the NDA board, government and stakeholders.

5. Assurance

We ensure the SLCs, the NDA and our subsidiaries achieve the outcomes our mission requires by:

  • using risk-based planning
  • conducting assurance
  • providing specialist support

This process ensures that we have the right people, processes and plans in place to ensure that hazards are reducing as planned. We need to know that projects and programmes are on track in line within agreed funding limits.


The Energy Act 2004 requires that we review and publish our Strategy at least every 5 years. UK government and the Scottish Ministers approved our latest Strategy in April 2016.

The final Strategy incorporates stakeholder views, feedback and responses to the consultation on our draft Strategy.

We use 5 themes to deliver programmes of work.

We develop options and make recommendations within these programmes of work. Our stakeholders help develop these credible options and the preferred option on a range of issues within the programmes of work.

  1. NDA Strategy

    • Corporate report

Business Plans

Every year we invite comments on our draft Business Plan which:

  • reflects the Strategy published in 2016
  • sets out key activities and the progress the NDA expects across all its sites during the next 3 years, in line with the funding allocated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

We seek to maintain progress and maximise value for money by focusing on the highest hazards, whilst ensuring that safe, secure and environmentally responsible site operations are maintained across our estate.

Our current Business Plan includes a 20 year overview and planned activities for the next 3 years.

Specific targets sit behind this planned activity. Progress against these Business Plan targets for the current year is published in our Quarterly Performance Reports.

  1. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Business Plan 2016 to 2019

    • Consultation outcome
  2. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Business Plan 2015 to 2018

    • Corporate report

Quarterly Performance Reports against Business Plan

We publish quarterly reports on the status of progress against our business plan targets. These reports also summarise safety information for the same period.

We give details on any reportable incidents and environmental impact that has occurred at an NDA site in the reporting period.

  1. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 3 status for 2015-16

    • Corporate report
  2. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 2 status for 2015-16

    • Corporate report
  3. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 1 status for 2015-16

    • Corporate report
  4. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 4 status for 2015-16

    • Corporate report

Annual Report and Accounts

In 2015 to 2016 there was significant progress on hazard reduction, particularly at Sellafield.

Performance highlights included:

  1. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Annual Report and Accounts 2015 to 2016

    • Corporate report
  2. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Annual Report and Accounts 2014 to 2015

    • Corporate report
  3. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority annual report and accounts 2013 to 2014

    • Corporate report

Priority Programme and Major Project Performance Reports

Across the NDA estate there are many projects underway and given the complexity and interdependency of many of these, they are often grouped into distinct delivery programmes.

We describe those programmes that are the highest priority in achieving our mission as our ‘Priority Programmes’. As a non-departmental public body, we use the UK government’s definition of a Major Project as being: ‘A central government funded project or programme that requires HM Treasury approval during its life, as set out in Delegated Authority Letters’.

We publish annual reports on our Priority Programmes and Major Projects, with performance information against original schedules and budgeted costs.

  1. Priority Programmes and Major Projects: Performance Report (data as at end September 2015)

    • Corporate report
  2. NDA Programmes and Major Projects Report: Sellafield, March 2015

    • Corporate report
  3. NDA Programmes and Major Projects Report: Pilot 3 (Jan 2015)

    • Corporate report