Get Into Nuclear | Nuclear Decommissioning


"The UK’s civil nuclear legacy is the largest, most important environmental restoration programme in Europe and tackling this legacy is a national priority.” - Baroness Verma on the scale of the task being undertaken by the NDA.

Who is the NDA?


The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body created in 2004. Owning 17 sites across the mainland UK with headquarters in Cumbria now reporting predominately to the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) which replaced the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July 2016 following the replacement of David Cameron by Teresa May. It should be noted that the NDA also reports to Scottish ministers regards some aspects of work in Scotland. The annual operational budget for the NDA is set and funded by the BEIS and HM Treasury.

"We ensure the safe and efficient clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy.

This involves decommissioning and demolishing all buildings, as well as treatment and disposal of associated waste, both radioactive and conventional."

"Our role is strategic: we establish the overall approach, allocate budgets, set targets and monitor progress.

We do not have a hands-on role in cleaning up our facilities. Instead, we deliver our mission through others, primarily Site Licence Companies (SLCs)."


The NDA are responsible for: decommissioning and cleaning up their nuclear sites and facilities as well as scrutinising the decommissioning plans of EDF Energy who owns the current UK operating fleet of 14 Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (AGR) and one Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) nuclear power stations.


The NDA Estate

The NDA own 17 UK nuclear sites including their assets and liabilities.


​Each of the NDA's sites are managed by one of six Site Licence Companies (SLCs) who hold the nuclear site licence, granted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), to operate the nuclear site(s). The NDA funds four SLCs; 

  • Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), 

  • Low Level Waste Repository Limited (LLWR), 

  • Magnox Limited and 

  • Sellafield Limited

who, up until recently, each had a Parent Body Organisation (PBO) who owns shares in an SLC for a period of time - the aim of which from the NDA is to utilise private sector organisations to improve on-site performance. In 2016 the NDA re- took direct ownership of Sellafield Ltd from the PBO Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) which had operated at Sellafield for 6 years.

The other two SLCs have slightly different arrangements; Westinghouse Electric UK Limited own a 150 year lease starting from 2010 on the Springfield Site and Capenhurst Site part ownership transferred to URENCO UK which makes Capenhurst Nuclear Services, a URENCO Group subsidiary, tenant on site.


The table below shows the NDAs 17 sites, their SLC and the ownership of the SLC:

Credit: Nuclear Decommissioning Authority



The NDA also has a number of wholly owned subsidiary companies which manage a range of business interests and logistics the key ones of note being:

  • Radioactive Waste Management (RWM)

  • Direct Rail Services Limited (DRS)

  • International Nuclear Services Limited (INS)

  • Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL)

  • NDA Archives Limited

  • NDA Properties Limited

  • Rutherford Indemnity Limited (insurers)

  • Sellafield Limited (from 1 April 2016)

If you're interested to find out more you can find an awesome paper written by the NIA UK; which gives a great overview of the UK decommissioning sector explaining the need for decommissioning, the work done to date and the work to be done in a future that you can be a part of.