Press Release

Balfour Beatty awarded £34m Hunterston nuclear project

26 September 2014


Balfour Beatty has been appointed by Magnox to deliver the £34m Solid Intermediate Level Waste Encapsulation (SILWE) contract at Hunterston a former power station in North Ayrshire. The project marks the final link in Magnox’s process chain of safely encapsulating and storing intermediate level waste as part of the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant.

Balfour Beatty will be responsible for the final design of the encapsulation process and construction of the SILWE plant including the complex mechanical, electrical control and instrumentation required.

The twin reactor site was Scotland’s first civil nuclear generating station and at the time of opening in 1964 was the largest in operation in the world. While the plant was active, and since it ceased operation in 1989, the solid intermediate level waste has been stored in bunkers. On completion of the SILWE facility, the Solid Active Waste Bunker Retrieval (SAWBR) facility will retrieve waste from the bunkers and place it in stainless steel boxes which will then be taken to the SILWE building for encapsulation before being transported to the Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) store for storage for potentially the next 100 years.

Doug Price, Magnox Head of Commercial Delivery, said: “Magnox is leading the way in UK nuclear decommissioning and is responsible for safely managing 10 nuclear sites across the UK. Magnox manages sites at all phases of their lifecycles and at Hunterston A we are in the care and maintenance preparations phase which focuses on de-planting buildings and retrieving, treating and processing waste. We are pleased to be working with Balfour Beatty on the SILWE project which is a key part of our programme of work.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, said: “Balfour Beatty has a strong track record in delivering the UK’s power generation solutions and has over the years been involved in the successful completion of many projects at Hunterston A, including the ILW store. Our multidisciplinary Balfour Beatty team looks forward to continuing to work with Magnox, its key strategic contractors and our experienced supply chain partners to deliver the project which has stringent safety and sustainability requirements.”

The works will be carried out under the existing Infrastructure, Construction and Enablers (ICE) framework for the delivery of construction, infrastructure and maintenance projects across all 10 sites operated by Magnox on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Balfour Beatty was appointed to ICE in September 2012. This will be the fourth package order issued to the company under the framework.

Work is expected to start on site this month and to be completed by the first quarter of 2017.

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Media enquiries:

Janette Masson
Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK
Tel. +44 (0)131 311 5384

Notes to editors:

1. For over 100 years Balfour Beatty has been delivering the UK’s power generation solutions. Today this includes constructing power stations (including hydro, biomass, energy from waste, carbon capture and storage, wind, tidal and Combined Cycle Gas Turbine generation), installing systems for power plants and decommissioning nuclear assets. 

Balfour Beatty is currently delivering a £17m contract for the provision of electrical, control and instrumentation for the URENCO uranium enrichment management facility in the Wirral.  Balfour Beatty is also delivering the third phase of a new silo maintenance facility for Sellafield Ltd, valued at £160 m in 45:55 joint-venture with Cavendish Nuclear.  In addition, Balfour Beatty is delivering the £422m 200km-long Beauly to Denny replacement electricity line for SSE in Scotland, the £120m Essex Waste project and the £450m Runcorn Energy from Waste project. 

Other recently delivered projects include work on the first Sellafield Sludge Packaging Plant (dealing with material from legacy storage ponds), an association with Sellafield which goes back 35 years and includes the construction of the THORP Reprocessing plant, a low level waste depository and storage ponds, the £27m Keadby onshore wind farm in North Lincolnshire and the £40m Whitelee Onshore Wind Farms in East Renfrewshire. Balfour Beatty delivered Barking Power Station in 1995, one of the last power stations to be built in the UK. 

2. Balfour Beatty has a strong Scottish heritage. The company was founded in 1909 by George Balfour, a Scots mechanical engineer, and Andrew Beatty, an English chartered accountant. The company's first contract was for a new tramway system in Dunfermline in Fife. Today Balfour Beatty continues to have a significant presence in Scotland where it currently delivers an average of 100+ projects per year.

Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction business employs 1,500 people in Scotland, including 98 apprentices, spread across our offices, factories and workshops in Edinburgh, Paisley, Hillington, Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, Kintore and Shotts.

We have an established local supply chain of approximately 1,000 Scottish-based companies which generates around £200 million that goes back into local businesses. 

3. Balfour Beatty’s UK and Ireland construction business ( is a leading integrator of complex, sophisticated and innovative projects that improve the UK’s and Ireland’s national infrastructure and an experienced provider of local and regional projects that help build lasting communities.

We offer a broad range of capabilities in construction, civil engineering and mechanical & electrical engineering services.

With offices throughout the UK and Ireland, we deliver a locally-focused service with the support of our national network of expertise and resources.

Balfour Beatty’s UK and Ireland construction business employs over 9,000 people.

4. Balfour Beatty ( is an international infrastructure group that delivers world class services essential to the development, creation and care of infrastructure assets; from finance and development, through design and project management to construction and maintenance.

Our businesses draw on more than 100 years of experience to deliver the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise to our clients principally in the UK and the USA, with developing businesses in Australia, Canada, the Middle East, South Africa and South East Asia. With proven expertise in delivering infrastructure critical to support communities and society today and in the future, our key market sectors focus on infrastructure - transportation (roads, rail and aviation), power and energy, water, and complex buildings (both commercial and social).

Balfour Beatty employs 40,000 people around the world. 

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