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Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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I very much welcome BNFL's announcement today of the appointment of Michael Parker as their new Chief Executive. He has a broad range of experience in challenging and senior posts in Dow Chemical. I would also like to pay tribute to Norman Askew, whose contribution to BNFL's progress over the last few years has been immense. He passes on excellent work on which to build a successful future.I am announcing today that the Government and the BNFL Board have agreed to conduct a joint review of BNFL's future strategy.There have been significant developments in BNFL's key businesses, the nuclear industry and in the Government's efforts to encourage a competitive clean up market in the UK since 2001. On this basis, the Government has decided that a flotation of the company after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been formed should no longer be an option. The review will evaluate options for alternative strategies. It will be conducted against the framework of the Government's policy objectives set out in the White Paper "Managing the Nuclear Legacy—a Strategy for Action" and in particular the need to develop a competitive market for nuclear site management which is fair and open.One of Michael Parker's key early challenges will be to lead the BNFL team working on the review with the Government. The review's output will be recommendations to Ministers on alternative strategies, with the aim of building on the company's progress towards improved performance across its businesses. In the meantime BNFL will continue to give top priority to improving the performance of its clean up and related operations.I have asked the review team to report to the BNFL Board and to me in the Autumn.