Background and options

NDA pension changes

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) consulted unions on proposed changes to pension arrangements in the nuclear estate. The consultation ran from 9 January to 10 March 2017.

The proposals affect the final salary pension schemes in the NDA estate:

  • final salary sections of the Combined Nuclear Pension Plan (CNPP)
  • Magnox Electric Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS)

See our Q&A page for more information.


The consultation was not a surprise – it followed many months of informal, exploratory talks between the NDA and the trade unions throughout 2016.  But we failed to reach agreement with the NDA about their proposals for reform because we felt they:

  • did not respect Energy Act and Electricity Act pension protections
  • did not recognise the savings on pension costs that have already been achieved
  • prioritised arbitrary cost savings over a fair agreement on pension reform.

Prospect wrote a letter to the minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, after the informal discussions ended in December 2016. This sets out the joint position of the recognised trade unions in more detail.

The NDA consulted on two options for reform.

Option 1

Pension accrued after 1 April 2018 based on average earnings over career rather than final salary at retirement; it is also based on a pension age of the member’s State Pension Age (or 65 if higher) rather than 60. Increase in member contributions of 3.2% from the same date. Members within 10 years of pension age on 1 April 2012 exempted from changes to benefits but would be required to pay the additional contributions. No change to any pension benefits accrued before 1 April 2018.

Option 2

Pension accrued after 1 April 2017 based on capped pensionable pay rather than full pensionable pay. Capped pensionable pay allows for pay increases to be capped at 1% from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020 and at 2.5% from 1 April 2020 onwards. No other changes under this option. No change to any pension benefits accrued before 1 April 2017.

These proposals are very technical and it is difficult to fully grasp what the potential impact will be. One of Prospect’s priorities was to help members understand how they could be affected.