A controversial decision to transport spent fuel from Caithness to Sellafield has boosted turnover and profits at the company tasked with decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear power station.
Dounreay Site Restoration (DSR), which is undertaking the £1.6billion decommissioning of the site for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), said it was undertaking “significant additional work” repackaging fuel for transportation to Cumbria following the NDA’s decision to move so called “exotic” fuels to Sellafield in 2013.
DSR, which is owned by a consortium led by industrial engineering and aerospace giant Babcock International, saw turnover rise 10% to £209.5million in the year ended March 2016. Pre-tax profits rose 47% to £15.6million in the year, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
The company also delivered a £7.1million dividend to shareholders – up from around £5million in the prior year.
The boost in performance comes as the company faces the prospect of worker demands for better pay.
Before Christmas, unions launched a ballot for industrial action after workers rejected a proposed 1% pay increase in October.
The GMB, Prospect and Unite unions claim that staff weren’t benefiting from increased profit margins.
DSR insisted that the pay offer was in line with increases across the industry and was above inflation.
Meanwhile, the company’s highest paid director saw his total pay rise 24% to £216,000.
The company employed 1,115 people in the year, up from 1,007 in the prior year.
The company has also seen a number of changes of its top management.
Simon Bowen was appointed as the company’s chairman in December 2015, replacing Roger Hardy.
Phil Craig took over the role as managing director from Mark Rouse in September 2015, while Mr Rouse took a non-executive role on the firm’s board.
Meanwhile, deputy managing director Robert Kury resigned in February 2016 replaced by David Lowe.
In December, Simon Middlemas, who ran the site at Caithness for five years until 2012, was also appointed to the board.
Further directors, George Foster, James Gray, Elizabeth Gray and Robert Gray also left the DSR board in 2016.
DSR is owned by the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, led by Babcocks as well as US firms CH2M and Aecom.
A spokesowman for DSR said: “The multi-year, target cost, site licence contract includes a number of milestones that recognise the reduction of various hazards.
“Progress continued to be made across a number of areas during 2015/16 on the journey towards the site’s closure.”