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Nuclear Sites Cost Warning

Jul 10, 2008 - Birmingham Post

The pounds 73 billion cost of decommissioning nuclear power sites could be increased "significantly", the head of an influential committee of MPs has warned.

Edward Leigh (Con Gainsborough), chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said the cost of work over the next five years had already risen "steeply".

The committee said in a report that the Government was unable to provide a complete assurance that the cost of decommissioning new nuclear power stations would not fall back on future taxpayers.

The MPs recommended that before giving the go-ahead to new nuclear power stations, the Business Department should ensure that operators can meet future decommissioning costs.

The report said: "Uncertainty around future costs is understandable, but uncertainty over the escalating costs of work due to be carried out imminently is difficult to justify."

A spokesman for the Business Department said: "This is the first government to have risen to the challenge of establishing the scale and cost of cleaning up the UK's nuclear legacy.

"As for the building of new nuclear power stations, we've been clear from the very start that energy companies - not taxpayers - must meet the full costs of eventual decommissioning of new nuclear power stations and their full share of waste management and disposal costs. Government is putting in place, through the Energy Bill, one of the most robust regulatory frameworks in the world to ensure that nuclear generators will meet these costs."

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