It has been warned that a “perpetual” lack of information about the condition of the nuclear facilities in Britain means that decommissioning for 120 years would not be complete and cost billions of pounds.
The decommissioning of UK civil nuclear power plants, including the Torness power plant in East Lothian and the Hunterston B power plant in Ayrshire, would cost the taxpayer about £ 132 billion, according to a new estimate, and will not be finished for 120 years.
The SNP said the report was a warning that “the UK government should abandon its obsession with nuclear power” and called on the Tories to “commit to scrapping all new nuclear projects.”
Dounreay, Chapelcross Power Station and Hunterston A Power Station are situated at decommissioning sites in Scotland, but the latest document warns that the operation would have a huge effect on local residents’ lives.
The Public Accounts Committee blames the U.K. in its sober analysis. Government for a “sorry saga” of massively ineffective contracts, “weak” government monitoring and a “persistent” lack of awareness of the condition of nuclear installations.
The report says that when the UK’s pioneering nuclear industry was founded, decommissioning of idled civilian nuclear facilities was a “afterthought”
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has left decades of inadequate information on the status and location of dangerous and radioactive materials with a history of a lack of awareness about the condition of the sites it is responsible for safeguarding, the study warned.
The NDA recognizes that it still does not have a complete understanding of the condition of the 17 sites in its custody, including the 10 former Magnox power plants, the report from the committee said.
According to the latest NDA figures, the decommissioning of UK civilian nuclear power plants would cost an incredible £ 132 billion for current and future generations of British taxpayers, and the work will not be finished for 120 years, with a huge effect on the lives of people living near the plants, the study said.
The projected cost of the NDA only to put the sites into the decommissioning process’s care and maintenance phase has risen by between £ 1.3 billion and £ 3.1 billion since 2017, to between £ 6.9 billion and £ 8.7 billion.
The PAC said previous NDA experience indicates that these forecasts will soon be obsolete and that costs will continue to increase.
The committee reported that the NDA is not doing enough to leverage the nuclear industry’s technological resources and emerging technology for the benefit of local communities or the U.K. Economics.
Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said, “The United Kingdom has gone from leading the world in nuclear power development to this sorry saga of a perpetual lack of knowledge of the current state of the nuclear facilities in the United Kingdom.”
“On a project of this length and cost, we need to see clearer discipline in project management.”
Vice President Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown added: “While progress has been made since our last report, the NDA is still unbelievably unaware of where we are right now in terms of the condition and safety of the decommissioned nuclear facilities in the UK.”
“The NDA needs to make a clean break with the incompetence and failures of the past, with stronger and better government oversight, and work to ensure that these plants, and the astronomical sums of taxpayers’ money they have gobbled up, are put to their best use for the benefit of local communities and the post-Cold War recovery of the UK economy as a whole.”
“This is further proof that the UK government should abandon its obsession with nuclear power and commit to scrapping all new nuclear projects – including those announced last week – which could cost £ 50 billion more. That money could be spent on cost-effective renewable energy projects,” said SNP energy spokesman Alan Brown.
“It also shines a light on the Tories’ incompetence that these costs were not considered when they fell over themselves to jump on the nuclear bandwagon,” he said.
Nuclear power will actually not be supplied – and then decommissioned – without spiraling out of control costs. We’ve seen decommissioning costs getting out of hand already.
The last thing people need in these difficult economic times is their money spent on the white elephants of nuclear power.