The consortium overseeing the clean up of waste at Sellafield nuclear site has failed to meet taxpayer demand and the National Audit Office should review the management of the site, MPs have said.
The American-led management were accused of failing to train and keep staff to the detriment of the project, as well as planning a future for the site which "doesn't make sense".
We are not confident taxpayers' interests are being protected in the contractual relationships between the private companies involved in managing and operating the Sellafield site.
The Authority has not properly explained how it is going to deal with the large stock of plutonium stored at a cost of around £40 million a year.
It wants to build a 'MOX' plant for converting plutonium into fuel for nuclear power stations - but no UK power stations can use this fuel.
The cost of building and operating a MOX plant would be more than the value of the fuel produced. It just doesn't make sense.
The cost of cleaning up nuclear waste at Sellafield has soared to "astonishing" levels, with latest figures estimating the bill has already hit £70bn, according to a group of influential MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the cost would continue to rise and blasted "poor" progress at the Cumbria site.
They also accused Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), who were brought in to manage the clean up, of letting timescales slip and running a project with "escalating" costs.
Among a series of recommendations MPs called on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to terminate the contract with NMP if their performance did not improve.
The report said the consortium had been brought in six years ago to help Sellafield improve its performance and had its contract extended last October despite "spiralling costs and poor performance".
A committee of MPs has severely criticised the private consortium that manages the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria.
In its latest report, the Commons' Public Accounts Committee says it is extremely concerned about spiralling costs and delays to projects.
Chair of the Committee, Margaret Hodge MP, says the contract for Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) should have been reconsidered, before an extension was awarded.
An anti-nuclear group from Cumbria is protesting in London today.
Radiation Free Lakeland is opposed to the idea of an underground nuclear waste store being built in the county.
They are planning to demonstrate outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
A new organisation has been formed to oppose plans for an underground nuclear waste store in Cumbria.
In January, Cumbria County Council voted against taking the idea any further.
However, the Government has announced that a new process will begin - and that would allow district councils to make the decision.
The Cumbria Trust was formed today and its members include Eddie Martin - the former leader of the County Council.
The company that oversees the running of the Sellafield nuclear plant in west Cumbria has been given the go-ahead to run the site for another five years.
Nuclear Management Partners won the contract in 2008 and have made vast changes to the decommissioned site.
However, they have also been severely criticised for the way they spend money.
Samantha Parker has been at the plant today:
The chairman of the consortium running the Sellafield nuclear site has described the task of the running of the site as "unprecedented."
Nuclear Management Partners today announced its intention to continue the management of the site until at least 2019.
“The task at Sellafield is unprecedented.
"We have learnt an enormous amount about the challenges of the site and the areas that we need to focus on looking forward.
"We believe we are well placed to build on our progress to date and deliver improved performance in the next period.”
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Baroness Verma, has released a statement expressing the Government's support for Nuclear Management Partners' extension of its management contract at Sellafield.
“Sellafield remains the Government’s top priority in our nuclear decommissioning programme.
"We support this decision to extend the contract which will build on skills and expertise at the site and the progress made so far.”
It has been announced today that the consortium running the Sellafield nuclear site will be allowed to continue its role.
Nuclear Management Partners had been accused of mismanagement and wasting public money earlier this year.
However, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has announced that the consortium will have its contract extended for a second five year period.
An announcement on who will manage the Sellafield nuclear site from next year is expected to be made later today.
The site is currently being run by Nuclear Management Partners, but that organisation was criticised earlier in the year by MPs and the National Audit Office.