Sellafield Ltd said Friday it has awarded a multi-million pound contract to a partnership of Areva, AMEC and Balfour Beatty related to future construction of a highly active nuclear liquid waste effluent project at the Cumbria complex in northwest England. The pre-construction contract requires the consortium, known as the Halef Partnership, to work together with Sellafield Ltd to develop the concept design. The work will commence immediately and it is anticipated that this phase will take approximately two years, Sellafield Ltd said in a statement. On completion and there still being a business requirement, this will be followed by a four-year procurement construction and commissioning phase, scheduled to begin mid-2012, the company said. The new facility will store radioactive effluents, which arise from nuclear processing operations. It comprises a series of high integrity highly active storage tanks in a seismically qualified reinforced concrete building. In a separate statement, Areva said the total project budget, including construction, will exceed GBP250 million ($379 million). Under the terms of the contract, Areva will provide engineering management and process design services in addition to procurement and commissioning of highly active storage tanks and associated equipment, Areva said. Sellafield Ltd is the site license company running the Sellafield complex that is owned by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The management and operations contract for Sellafield Ltd is held by Nuclear Management Partners, a consortium of Areva, URS and AMEC.