Nuclear Clean Up Costs May Soar Above £73bn

by Peter Gray

While eyes are fixed on the possibility of a new Wylfa B nuclear power station on Anglesey, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said that nuclear clean up costs may rise "significantly" above £73 billion.

In a report looking into the cost of cleaning up aging nuclear sites in the UK, the committee said that even the costs for the next 5 years have risen sharply.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)said costs would be higher over the short term as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) needed to get a proper understanding of the full challenge it faced.

The PAC says the government did not assure them that the future decommissioning costs would not fall on the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, BERR says energy companies must absorb full costs of decommissioning new sites, as well as address their responsibility for costs of waste management and disposal.

The NDA has carried out a review of the various stages involved in decommissioning Wylfa Power Station after it closes in 2010.

This involved extensive consultations with local people on Anglesey via the Site Stakeholders Group (SSG) on options for use of the site after decommissioning, demolition and site clearance,called the "End Uses".

Meanwhile the announcement has been made for the Government's preferred choice for the massive £1.3 billion a year contract to clean up the extensive NDA owned nuclear site at Sellafield, West Cumbria. Over the lifetime of the contract this could amount to £17 bn.

The consortium likely to undertake this vast operation is made up of UK firm Amec, URS's Washington Division from America and French company Areva. Operations would start in October under the name Nuclear Management Partners.

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