UP to 110 jobs face the axe at Winfrith if decommissioning cash for the former nuclear site is slashed by nearly 30 per cent.

A spokesman for Winfrith said it and sister site Harwell in Oxford-shire had been given a recent update on likely funding for 2008-2010 by the Nuclear Decomm-issioning Authority.

This showed that joint funding for the two United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority sites could drop from £84.6 million for 2007-2008 to only £60 million annually after that, although this level still had to be officially confirmed.

The spokesman added: "The UKAEA is restructuring to better fit its role as contractor. This, combined with an indicated level of NDA funding, has led to a surplus of staff.

"The UKAEA's policy is to accommodate staff losses through voluntary means if at all possible.

"The number of surplus staff will not be certain until the completion of the Government's Comprehen-sive Spending Review, expected to be complete in the autumn."

An NDA spokesman said: "The amount of money the Government has made available for decommissioning across the UK has increased over the last few years.

"The NDA and our contractors ensure that safety remains paramount and all regulatory requirements are met.

"Further allocation of funding is then prioritised for those sites with the highest hazards and Winfrith is not a priority site.

"We are awaiting the outcome of our discussions with Government on the Comp-rehensive Spending Review which will determine budgets for the next three years.

"For planning purposes, we have talked to our contractors about the likely level of funding but this is still to be confirmed.

"Once budgets are set, then the site operator has the responsibility of managing the agreed programme of work within the funds allocated."

Decommissioning had been due to be fully completed by 2013 but could now take much longer.

Richard Drax, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for South Dorset, visited Winfrith to show support for the 110 staff who face losing their jobs if funding is cut'.

He said staff told him that the funding problems would leave decommissioning work frozen and 100 highly-trained staff out of work.

He added: "It's madness to pull the plug now. The job will have to be finished one day, so why stop now?

"As I understand it the cash is needed to clear other contaminated sites in the UK where the decommissioning process has yet to start.

"I can't see the logic behind the NDA proposal to cut funding. With the staff redundant and work stopped, the cost of care and maintenance of the site will surely spiral."