UK nuclear energy stations’ decommissioning price soars to £23.5bn | Nuclear energy

The price of decommissioning the UK’s seven ageing nuclear energy stations has practically doubled to £23.5bn and is more likely to rise additional, the general public accounts committee has mentioned.

The hovering prices of safely decommissioning the superior gas-cooled reactors (AGRs), together with Dungeness B, Hunstanton B and Hinkley B, are being loaded on to the taxpayer, their report mentioned.

Failures within the authorities’s funding technique for the fund, which was set as much as pay for the decommissioning, have led to the taxpayer topping it up by a further £10.7bn in simply two years.

The nuclear energy stations are owned by EDF Energy and supply a lot of the UK’s nuclear power-generated electrical energy, which makes up 16% of the power combine. But the stations are nearing the top of their lives and are scheduled to cease producing electrical energy throughout this decade.

The authorities has just lately agreed that when the stations have been defuelled by EDF, which includes the removing of all of the spent gas from the reactor core and cooling ponds, possession of the stations will likely be transferred to the federal government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to finish decommissioning.

“The pace at which the stations can be defuelled could have a big impact on the costs, between £3.1bn and £8bn depending on the time taken,” the inquiry report mentioned. “Successful defuelling will depend on all parties being ready and working together, including the NDA being ready to receive and dismantle the volume of fuel arriving at Sellafield. Any delays in the defuelling process could result in costs increasing substantially.

“The handover agreement does not appear to sufficiently ‘incentivise cost efficiency and ensure a smooth transfer of defuelled stations to the NDA’.”

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The public accounts committee additionally mentioned it had considerations over whether or not the NDA had the capability to tackle the seven AGR stations along with its different tasks, which incorporates decommissioning the older Magnox reactors.

It will price the UK taxpayer £132bn to decommission all of the UK’s civil nuclear websites and the work won’t be accomplished for one more 120 years, in line with newest estimates.

Boris Johnson has pledged to construct eight nuclear energy stations in eight years. But the UK has no facility for completely and safely storing the waste from previous, current or future nuclear energy stations. Most is presently saved at Sellafield, some of the advanced and dangerous nuclear websites on the planet.

Nuclear Waste Services, an arm of the federal government, is searching for a website to construct a geological deposit facility deep underground for all of the UK’s nuclear waste.

MPs on the general public accounts committee mentioned of their report on Friday the federal government should study classes from the rising prices of decommissioning the seven AGR reactors and be clear how the decommissioning of proposed new nuclear stations can be funded.

The seven stations had been bought by the federal government to EDF in 2009, with the later settlement that the French firm would take away the gas from the stations once they closed, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority would tackle the decommissioning of the websites. But the price of decommissioning the seven AGR reactors that started to shut final yr, plus Sizewell B, has greater than doubled from £12.6bn in 2004-05 to £23.5bn in 2020-21, the general public accounts committee report mentioned.

“There remain significant uncertainties that will need to be managed to prevent further increases in costs and ease pressures on the fund,” the report mentioned. “The cost of defuelling will depend on the stations not closing significantly earlier than planned and how quickly they can be defuelled once electricity generation ceases.”

There was vital danger that the price of decommissioning the seven AGRs would rise additional, the report mentioned.

The public accounts committee, in a earlier report, mentioned the price of decommissioning the older Magnox reactors – which had been the primary technology of UK nuclear stations – had elevated by billions of kilos due to uncertainty over the situation of the websites and deal with the decommissioning.

The PAC report mentioned the closure of seven nuclear stations by 2028 would have a big influence on power manufacturing, however EDF has mentioned there could be no extensions to the lifetime of the reactors whereas the UK waits for brand spanking new producing capability to return on-line.

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