IICJ Paper From Sellafield to the States and back again: The journey of BNFL and the effect on its in-house legal services Sue Quint, Group Legal Director, BNFL, UK

This paper will discuss the development and ultimate decline of BNFL, a Government owned public limited company in the nuclear sector, and its in house legal team. It considers the key challenges in the 1990's to develop the BNFL Group into the leading global nuclear services provider, culminating in the acquisition of Magnox Electric plc and Westinghouse Electric LLC.
Sue Quint
Sue Quint joined BNFL in 1982 and became a Solicitor in 1992. She was initially employed as a commercial lawyer, becoming Head of Special Projects in 1995. From that she headed up the Corporate and Commercial team for BNFL in 2000, dealing with the acquisition of a number of European companies and during the expansion of BNFL Group Legal, was responsible for the recruitment of a large number of new lawyers and the mentoring of the Trainee Solicitors in the Group. In 2004, following the acquisition of both Magnox Electric plc and Westinghouse Electric LLC, she became UK General Counsel and Deputy Group Legal Director, responsible for the leadership and management of the legal team in the UK. She lead the reorganisation of the BNFL Group in 2004/5, dealing with the transfer of assets and liabilities to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) by Nuclear Transfer Scheme, providing advice to Government on the drafting of the Energy Act 2004, the legislation that established the NDA. Sue negotiated with the NDA the first incumbent Management and Operations Contracts for the operation and decommissioning of the NDA's nuclear sites. She led the sale of Westinghouse Electric LLC and Westinghouse UK to Toshiba in October 2006 and sold Reactor Sites Management Company and Magnox Electric Limited to Energy Solutions LLC in June 2006. In October 2007 she took over from Alvin Shuttleworth as BNFL's Group Legal Director reporting to BNFL's CEO Mike Parker. In this role she is a key member of the Executive Team, responsible for the sale of all the remaining businesses of BNFL and the monitoring and minimisation of all liabilities of the company, so that it can be handed over to the control of the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory reform in March 2009. Sue is also on the Boards of British Nuclear Group Limited the Parent Body Organisation that manages Sellafield Limited and on the Sellafield Limited Board. She is also on the Board of Nexia Solutions, the company who provides technology services and solutions across the nuclear fuel cycle.
British Nuclear Fuels plc was established as a limited company in 1971 by virtue of the Atomic Energy Act 1971 and became a plc in 1984. In the 1990's there was rapid growth and by 2000 we had acquired Magnox Electric plc and Westinghouse Electric LLC. In 2004 BNFL was an international business employing 23,000 people worldwide in 16 countries and serving governments and nuclear utilities around the globe. Following a strategy review by BNFL and its shareholder in 2003, it was ultimately decided to reorganise the nuclear industry and particularly BNFL and by the enactment of the Energy Act in 2004, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was established and on 1 April 2005 the NDA took strategic responsibility for the decommissioning and cleanup of all 20 of the UK's nuclear sites and BNFL became an operator of its sites, rather than an owner. BNFL then embarked on a restructuring and disposal programme delivering significant profits in 2007, selling Westinghouse Electric LLC to Toshiba for circa £3B. The main focus for 2008 is for BNFL to work with its shareholder the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on creating a successful National Nuclear Laboratory and supporting the NDA in ensuring a successful Parent Body Organisation, through a competitive dialogue process, is appointed for Sellafield Limited by the end of 2008.
United Kingdom More
Area of Law
Management More
Business Sector
Energy More
Month Published
September 2008 More
Vol. 2, No. 5, Autumn 2008 More
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