THE £50 million sale of the commercial arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) under a Government drive to sell off public assets was completed today.
Defence and energy support services firm Babcock International bought the entirety of UKAEA Limited as part of the efficiency initiative.
UKAEA Limited, which represents a major slice of the country’s nuclear expertise, oversees nuclear clean-up work at three sites in the UK and offers consultancy services in international markets. It employs around 230 people.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the sale, which completed on October 31, would "help to reinforce the UK’s strong heritage in the nuclear industry".
Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, said: "This is a win, win, win result.
"It gives UKAEA a strong partner, generates good value for the tax payer and allows the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to enjoy a broader array of nuclear decommissioning expertise."
The sale of UKAEA Limited follows a decision by the authority to build up its commercial arm to a point at which it could operate independently.
It has attracted criticism from the Conservatives, who questioned its timing and raised fears that it could be motivated from a short-term need to boost the battered public finances during the recession.
Today Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne said: "Asset sales like this are an important part of our plans to bring down debt.
"As we lock in the recovery we’ll move to halve the deficit over four years, so it’s good to see transactions like this on track, delivering value for British taxpayers."
UKAEA is handling decommissioning work for the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency at Dounreay in Scotland, Winfrith in Dorset, and Harwell in Oxfordshire. It also has offices in Warrington and Cumbria.