Sky News has learnt that Stephen Henwood and John Clarke, respectively the former chairman and chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) are trying to block the publication of criticisms contained in a report by a leading businessman.

‎Steve Holliday, the former chief executive of National Grid, was asked by the Business Secretary Greg Clark to undertake an independent inquiry into the award of the Magnox nuclear decommissioning contract, and its subsequent termination, in March 2017.

Mr Holliday is understood to have completed his report several months ago, before launching a process of Maxwellisation, which allows those facing criticism in official reports to challenge their findings.

However, lawyers acting for Mr Henwood and Mr Clarke – who are believed to be heavily criticised in the report – are understood to have raised objections to the process followed by Mr Holliday.

They are said to have sought an injunction before Christmas to prevent the report being handed to the Government, with sources saying they have also filed legal papers threatening to seek a judicial review of Mr Holliday‘s findings.

Image: Hinkley Point was one of the sites included in the contract

A deadline is understood to have been set early this month for them to have responded to Mr Holliday.

The contentious £6.1bn, 14-year Magnox contract related to the clean-up of a dozen civil nuclear sites, including Dungeness and Hinkley Point, across the UK.

Other disused reactors included in the deal include Sizewell and Calder Hall in Cumbria.

It was awarded in ‎March 2014 to the Cavendish-Fluor Partnership, a private sector consortium including the UK‘s Babcock International.

The decision sparked a High Court challenge by another bidder alleging that the NDA had breached procurement rules.

In July 2016, the High Court ruled that the NDA had “committed multiple, manifest errors in evaluating the (losing) RSS bid and the (winning) CFP bid”, according to Mr Holliday‘s interim report, which was published in October 2017.

The government acknowledged reaching settlements with two parties costing a total of £97.5m.

Mr Clark also announced that the NDA had terminated the CFP deal nine years early “due to a significant mismatch between the work specified in the tendered contract and the work that needed to be done,” acording to Mr Holliday.

The contract is now due to end in August this year, with Magnox, a private company, now subsumed into the NDA.

The ‎precise nature of the objections of the NDA‘s former bosses was unclear this weekend, although sources suggested that a number of other, more junior executives were also party to the legal challenge to Mr Holliday‘s report.

A separate report by the National‎ Audit Office (NAO) has already concluded that the NDA‘s “fundamental failures in the Magnox contract procurement raise serious questions about its understanding of procurement regulations and its ability to manage large, complex procurements,” the public spending watchdog said in October 2017.

In addition to the £97m paid to Bechtel and Energy Solutions, more than £13m was spent on legal fees relating to the row.

The NDA is now under new leadership, with Lawrie Haynes, a former Rolls-Royce executive, recently being appointed chairman-designate of Magnox Ltd.

David Peattie, a respected former BP executive, is now running the NDA as its chief executive, with a new leadership team installed beneath him.

Mr Holliday could not be reached for comment this weekend, while a spokesman for the NDA‎ said the dispute was “a matter between the claimants and the inquiry”.