Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: priorities and progress

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

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
  • shown in terms of progress against strategic objectives in the Mission Progress Report

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

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
  • 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
  • 1 Magnox site, Bradwell in Essex, entered Care and Maintenance phase

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)
  • the Plutonium Contaminated Material (PCM) facilities to have been removed at the Low Level Waste Repository in Cumbria
  • confirmation of a site’s suitability to host a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)


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.

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.

In-year Performance Report against Business Plan

We publish a mid-year report on the status of progress against our business plan targets. This report also summarises 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.

Annual Report and Accounts

There has been significant progress in delivering our mission of decommissioning, hazard reduction and clean-up and we have ensured spending remains below the annual limit set by the government.

All Magnox sites have been declared fuel free, after the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) gave its official ‘fuel-free verification’ to Wylfa in October 2019. This marked the end of defueling operations at the UK’s 26 Magnox reactors.

All 11 tonnes of separated plutonium has now been safely transported from Dounreay to Sellafield, the UK’s centre of excellence for managing plutonium, for storage.

The first concrete was poured on a £1bn custom-built facility at Sellafield to repackage the plutonium materials for safe and secure long-term storage.

Mission Progress Report

This report focuses on the 4 themes we outline in our Strategy that are common across all sites and enable us to measure our achievements. Whether it’s managing the spent fuels from Magnox reactors, safely transferring and storing nuclear materials in more modern facilities or treating and packaging various types of radioactive waste, it’s all leading us to the ultimate goal of being able to hand back the land we currently own, making it available to communities for other uses.

Working with our businesses and key stakeholders, we generated this report that demonstrates how far we have travelled since 2005, and how much further is left to go over the next 120-plus years.

We’ve determined what each of the key steps or ‘strategic outcomes’ are that we need to achieve in order to complete our mission. We’ve applied a consistent set of measurements or ‘metrics’ for the data that shows what materials and buildings we have to manage and, crucially, we indicate what is happening now and what important decisions need to take place in order for us to complete our mission.


We have a unique role, charged with the mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost-effectively - but we also have a unique opportunity to invest in our people, our communities and by protecting the environment for long term future use. We are committed to making the journey towards delivering our mission a sustainable one.

The NDA group is made up of 12 businesses employing 16,000 employees over 17 sites. We have made a commitment to working more closely across the whole NDA group and collaborating around sustainability.

Published 3 August 2015
Last updated 26 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added latest Annual Report and Accounts

  2. NDA Mid-Year Performance Report 2020 to 2021 published

  3. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Annual Report and Accounts 2019 to 2020

  4. Annual report and accounts 2018 to 2019 published alongside Mission Progress Report

  5. Added Business Plan 2019 to 2022 and Mid-Year Performance Report for 2018 to 2019

  6. Added Annual Report 2017 to 2018

  7. Latest mid-year report uploaded.

  8. Added Annual Report and Accounts 2016 to 2017

  9. Added the Business Plan 2017 to 2020

  10. Includes NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 2 status for 2016-17

  11. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 1 status for 2016-17added

  12. Quarterly Performance Report - Quarter 4 2015-16 added

  13. Added the 2015 to 2016 Annual Report and Accounts to this collection.

  14. Added Priority Programmes and Major Projects Performance Report (data as at September 2015)

  15. Changed link so that latest Strategy is available from this page and added link to the Business Plan for 2016 to 2019.

  16. Quarterly Performance report Quarter 3 status for 2015-16 published

  17. NDA: Quarterly Performance Report Quarter 2 status for 2015-16 published.

  18. First published.