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Caithness News Bulletins May 2006

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The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) today announced the award of the contract for the administration of the new Combined Nuclear Pension Plan (CNPP) to UKAEA. UKAEA will administer the scheme through its Pensions Office in Thurso.  This contract secures the jobs of the staff who work at the office in Brownhill Road.

The CNPP will deliver pensions provision for the nuclear decommissioning workforce across NDA sites, as and when sites are competed and employees are no longer eligible for existing public sector schemes. The NDA awarded the contract for the administration of the scheme through a rigorous process of open competition.

The contract will run initially for three years but may be extended for a maximum of a further two years. The new scheme will be in place to operate from August this year, in readiness for the first members who are expected to join the scheme on completion of the sale of BNFL's Westinghouse subsidiary to Toshiba. Eventually up to 14,000 nuclear industry employees could be eligible to join the scheme.  A spokesperson said that there was the possibility of one or two new jobs depending on further contracts over the next couple of years.

UKAEA's Pensions Office in Thurso administers a range of different types of defined benefit pensions schemes for some 50,000 current and retired staff from UKAEA and other employers, including BNFL and RWE Nukem. UKAEA's Thurso office currently covers over two thirds of all UK nuclear industry pensions.

Welcoming today's announcement, UKAEA Chief Executive Dipesh Shah said "I am delighted that the Thurso Pensions Office has won this contract in fair and open competition. Successive independent reviews have benchmarked the office against private sector competitors; they have all concluded that it is among the best in the business, with experienced staff, excellent standards of performance and highly competitive costs. Today's announcement confirms the team's ability to face up to strong commercial competition, and win.

"Winning the administration of the CNPP will allow us to maintain an outstanding team in our Thurso Pensions Office, providing a first class service, and will establish a viable base on which we will aim to attract new business in the pensions sector to Caithness."

The Energy Act empowered UKAEA to administer other nuclear and public service pension schemes.