Infobox Company
company_name = British Nuclear Fuels plc
company_type = Public (government owned)
foundation = 1971 (as British Nuclear Fuels Limited)
location = Daresbury, England
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industry =
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British Nuclear Fuels plc or BNFL manufactures and transports nuclear fuel (notably MOX), runs reactors, generates and sells electricity, reprocesses and manages spent fuel (mainly at Sellafield), and decommissions nuclear plants and other similar facilities. BNFL is owned by the British government. BNFL has undergone major changes recently: the formation of a new holding company on 1 April 2005, the transfer of its nuclear sites to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the sale of its Westinghouse Electric Company subsidiary in February 2006. In March 2006 the company announced its intention to sell its major subsidiary, British Nuclear Group.


British Nuclear Fuels Limited was set up in February 1971 from the demerger of the production division of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). In 1984 BNFL became a public limited company as British Nuclear Fuels plc, wholly owned by the UK government.

Until 2003 its headquarters were based at Risley, near Warrington, England. BNFLs headquarters are now at Daresbury Park industrial estate, also near to Warrington.

BNFL Inc. was established in 1990 and specialised in decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear sites. On 19 April 2005 the company was renamed BNG America, a subsidiary of BNFL's British Nuclear Group. [cite news | title = BNG America is launched | publisher = British Nuclear Group | date = 2005-04-19 | url = | accessdate =2006-08-25 ]

In 1996 the UK's eight most advanced nuclear plants, seven Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (AGR) and one Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) were privatised as British Energy, raising £2.1 billion. [cite web | title = Risk Management: The Nuclear Liabilities of British Energy plc | publisher = National Audit Office | date = 2004-02-06 | url =
format = PDF | accessdate =2006-08-25
] The oldest reactors, the Magnox sites, were not attractive for commercial operations and remained in public ownership as Magnox Electric. On 30 January 1998 Magnox Electric was merged into BNFL as British Nuclear Fuels plc Magnox Generation.

In 1999 BNFL acquired Westinghouse Electric Company, the commercial nuclear power businesses of CBS, (Westinghouse acquired CBS in 1995 and reoriented itself as a broadcaster). Westinghouse's businesses are fuel manufacture, decommissioning of nuclear sites and reactor design, construction and servicing.

In 2000 BNFL purchased the nuclear businesses of ABB for £300 million ($485 million). This company, which was merged into Westinghouse, had nuclear interests in the United States, Europe and Asia. [cite press release | title = BNFL to Acquire Nuclear Business of ABB | publisher = BNFL | date = 1999-12-29 | url =,+1999| accessdate =2006-08-25 ]


On 1 April 2005 the company was reorganised. British Nuclear Fuels plc was renamed British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd. A new holding company was established and adopted the British Nuclear Fuels plc name. [cite web| url =| title = BNFL Annual Report and Accounts 2005| accessdate = 2006-08-26| date = 2005
format = PDF| publisher = British Nuclear Fuels plc | pages = 3
] This new group operates largely through its major British Nuclear Group subsidiary.

In July 2005 BNFL confirmed it planned to sell Westinghouse, then estimated to be worth $1.8bn (£1bn). However the bid attracted interest from several companies, including Toshiba, General Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and when the "Financial Times" reported on January 23, 2006 that Toshiba had won the bid, it valued the company's offer at $5bn (£2.8bn). On February 6 2006 Toshiba confirmed it was buying Westinghouse Electric Company for $5.4bn and announced it would sell a minority stake to investors. [cite news | title =Toshiba buys BNFL firm for $5.4bn | publisher =BBC News | date =2006-02-06 | url = | accessdate =2006-08-25 ]

On 3 February 2006 BNFL announced it had agreed to sell its BNG America subsidiary to EnergySolutions. [cite news
title = BNG America to Join EnergySolutions | publisher = BNG America | date = 2006-02-03 | url = | accessdate =2006-08-25
; see also cite news |title=BNFL sells American nuclear business for $90m |url=,,9078-2022581,00.html |last=Jameson |first=Angela |date=2006-02-03|publisher=The Times

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was established on 1 April 2005. The NDA has already taken control of BNFL's nuclear sites to allow BNFL the freedom to concentrate on minimising decommissioning costs. However, the intention is to open up the decommissioning to tender in order to drive down costs and so BNFL will likely be one of a number of decommissioning contractors through its British Nuclear Group subsidiary.

In January 2007 the NDA announced that the R&D arm of BNFL, Nexia Solutions would be complemented with a North West Skills Academy to help develop young scientists and engineers into the nuclear industry.

In March 2006 BNFL announced its intention to sell British Nuclear Group. With the sale of Westinghouse Electric Company, BNG America and BNG this will effectively bring BNFL to an end. Mike Parker, CEO of BNFL, said: "By the end of 2007... there will be little need for the BNFL corporate centre from this time." [cite news | first =Angela | last =Jameson | title =BNFL to be wound up by end of 2007 | url =,,9069-2254894,00.html | publisher =The Times | date =2006-07-04 | accessdate =2006-08-25 ] On 22 August 2006 the BNFL announced that instead of selling BNG as a going concern it would instead sell it off piece by piece. The first businesses to be sold are Project Services, a specialist nuclear consulting business, and the one-third stake of AWE Management. [cite news | first =Katherine | last =Griffiths | title = Anger as nuclear sell-off is shelved| url = | publisher =Daily Telegraph | date =2006-08-23 | accessdate =2006-08-25 ] AWE is responsible for the support and manufacturing of the UK's nuclear deterrent.

In January 2007 BNFL announced that it would sell its Magnox reactor site management business, which works under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. [cite news | title=BNFL sale of reactor sites business | url= | publisher=Nuclear Engineering International | date=2007-01-12 | accessdate=2007-01-31] All UK Magnox power stations are due cease operation by 2010.


The BNFL currently operates at 18 sites in the UK. They are:
*Berkeley (shut down 1989)
*Bradwell (shut down 2002)
*Calder Hall (shut down 2003)
*Chapelcross (shut down 2004)
*Dungeness A (shut down 2006)
*Hinkley Point A (shut down 2000)
*Hunterston A (shut down 1990)
*Sizewell A (shut down 2006)
*Trawsfynydd (shut down 1993)

ee also

*Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
*Energy policy of the United Kingdom
*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom


External links

* [ BNFL homepage]

In the media

* [ Sellafield awaits nuclear power's rebirth, by Jorn Madslien, BBC News]
* [, by Jorn Madslien, BBC News]
* [ The sale of Britain's nuclear giant, by Jorn Madslien, BBC News]

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