Wantage MP Ed Vaizey is seeking an urgent meeting with the Government in a last minute bid to save almost 100 jobs at Harwell.

In a letter to Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform minister Malcolm Wicks, he wrote: "I have now received many letters from constituents at Harwell expressing their concerns about the proposed redundancies.

"I have since held a meeting with the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authotity), the UKAE (United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority), and Prospect (trade union) to try and see if there was any way forward."

About 90 science and engineering jobs out of 337 staff employed by UKAEA at the Harwell site are now threatened.

The UKAEA staff work on a £900m operation to clean up the former nuclear research centre and to decommission the ageing nuclear reactors. The NDA - itself funded by the Government - pays for the work.

At both Harwell and the UKAEA's other site at Winfrith in Dorset about 200 jobs are threatened.

Mr Vaizey added: "I don't blame the Government here. The error is the NDA's, which has cut budgets at short notice at Harwell and Winfrith. But Government intervention is needed now to save money and jobs in the future."

The NDA has recently seen its overall budget from the Government increased, but it has reduced its expenditure at Harwell and Winfrith so as to leave more money to spend at priority sites such as Sellafield in Cumbria.

NDA spokesman Bill Hamilton said: "The NDA's first priority is to make passively safe the most hazardous facilities on its sites, especially at Sellafield and Dounreay, because these pose the greatest potential threat to people and the environment."

The £101m annual budget for the two sites has been slashed to £85m in 2007-8, and indications are that in 2008-9 it will be just £60m.

A UKAEA spokesman said: "The UKAEA now has to restructure, largely to fit its role as contractor and, to this end, a voluntary early release scheme has been introduced to resolve an anticipated surplus of about 50 staff across the two sites.

She added: "The indication is that Harwell/Winfrith funding in 2008/09 will be £60m. If this is confirmed, it will slow decommissioning at Harwell and Winfrith and will necessitate further jobs losses."