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Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 22:48 GMT 23:48 UK

Next month, a £1bn contract to clean up Drigg is going out to tender.

Current operator BNG is the expected favourite, and this should stand it in good stead when much larger clean-up contracts come up for grabs.

"If you're the first-tier contract, you run the site," observes one industry official.

But BNG may have to share the spoils with others. On one level, there is a string of UK firms like Serco, Carillion and WS Atkins lining up to provide services.

"It's a big market and the Americans are keen to get involved," the industry official says, pointing out that in most cases, they are vastly more experienced than their British rivals.

Among BNG's leading contenders are the experienced US clean-up firms Fluor and Shaw.

But there are others too, most notably CH2M, which has teamed up with the UK engineering group Amec and with the government body UKAEA.

Bechtel is also expected to bid for clean-up contracts, though it cannot do so during the early stages as it helped create the NDA, which will be awarding the contracts during the next five years.


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