Friday, August 12, 2005

Cost of decommissioning nuclear stations rises

Telegraph | News | Cost of decommissioning nuclear stations rises

Decommissioning Britain's nuclear power stations will cost at least £8 billion more than first thought, it has been revealed.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) believes the bill for 20 ageing sites will be about £56 billion, compared with the previous figure of £48 billion.

The NDA wants Sellafield decommissioned within 75 years
If the decision is taken to reclassify plutonium as waste rather than as an asset another £10 billion could be added to the total.

In its first report since being set up last year, the NDA said that it wanted to speed up the retirement of the sites, particularly in relation to the 11 remaining Magnox plants.

It wants them cleared and available for alternative uses in 25 years, compared with previous plans stretching to around 85 years.

The NDA wants to finish decommissioning at Sellafield in Cumbria within 75 years as opposed to over a century in the current plan.

Sir Anthony Cleaver, the authority chairman, said: "In terms of the overall cost we inherited an original estimate of £48 billion. When we rolled up the life cycle base lines and added them together last year they came to £56 billion.

"Our expectation is that in the short term that number may well increase."

Sir Anthony said he could not estimate how much the overall cost was likely to rise because different sites were at different stages of working out their life cycle base line costs.

He said speeding up decommissioning would have benefits for safety and provide employment for a number of years to come.

"The current plans assume that we spend 10 or 15 years on each Magnox station reducing it to a point where the higher radiation areas are contained on the site.

"We then leave it for 60 or 70 years and finally come back to complete the decommissioning."


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