270 jobs at risk

Nuclear firm sold for £3 falls into administration

JFN employed nearly 300 staff

Nuclear decommissioning specialist JFN, which was sold earlier this year for just £3, has gone into administration putting 270 jobs at risk.

JFN was acquired by Myneration, a wholly-owned investment vehicle of Rcapital Partners, from Cumbria-based James Fisher & Sons in March. It is based in Preston, Lancashire, and has a facility in Thurso.

James Fisher Nuclear was part of a joint venture – Nuclear Decommissioning Ltd – set up two years ago to accelerate Scotland’s largest decommissioning project at Dounreay on the north Caithness coast, as part of a wider mission to clean up the UK’s nuclear legacy.

Administrators at FTI Consulting described it as a “tremendously sad day for everyone who has been involved in the business”.

Established in the 1990s, the company has provided technical services to the UK nuclear decommissioning sector for more than 40 years.

In a statement the administrator said JFN had incurred losses in recent years associated with “a number of uneconomical long-term contracts” which resulted in the business requiring a “significant” funding injection.

Directors and key stakeholders have attempted to secure the future of the business during the past few months, but the company had insufficient cash resources to continue trading beyond the short-term. With no reasonable prospect of selling the business, directors said they had no choice but to appoint administrators.

FTI will focus on working with employees, customers, subcontractors and suppliers to effect a wind-down of the majority of operations over the next few weeks, while continuing to explore interest in parts of the business.

It said it is “hopeful” of being able to conclude a transaction in the coming days for the instrumentation division, which employs about 20.

“Our priority is to ensure that all employees made redundant are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect,” it said in a statement.

“We will be circulating correspondence to all staff as soon as possible which will outline the support available to complete redundancy payment forms.”

Cost of decommissioning rises

The North Sea Transition Authority said the total bill for decommissioning in the North Sea was now expected to be in the region of £40 billion, a £3bn rise on an estimate just last year.

The increase is attributed to the rising costs and higher demand for equipment and vessels from other sectors.

However, it will provide additional work for local contractors, with about 70% expected to go to companies based in the UK.

About £21 billion is likely to be spent over the next decade removing infrastructure such as wells, pipelines and offshore platforms.

About £8 billion has been committed between 2017 and this year, according to the authority’s decommissioning cost and performance report for 2023.

The £1.6 billion total in 2022 was the highest over the past five years and the hope is the expertise built up in Britain can be exported overseas.

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