Nuclear waste disposal plans put spotlight on cost

Nuclear operators looking to invest in the UK will need to show they have enough funds for cleaning up their waste under new Government plans. Announcing new guidelines for firms […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Nuclear operators looking to invest in the UK will need to show they have enough funds for cleaning up their waste under new Government plans.

Announcing new guidelines for firms yesterday, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said this emphasis on cost from day one would “protect taxpayers from having to pick up the bill.”

Critics of new nuclear projects claim the burden of decommissioning will fall on the public purse. Yesterday’s plans show government’s keenness to tackle this perception, with clear demands for operators to have “insolvency-proof funds” set aside for clean up operations independent from Government.

Mr Hendry said: “Nuclear operators will have to prove they have a credible plan for funding the decommissioning and safe management of their radioactive waste. This is the best way to protect taxpayers from having to pick up the bill.”

The Government also laid out guidance for how operators can manage their nuclear waste.

It says the first radioactive waste can be put into geological disposal, burying it deep underground by 2029, providing an average of 550 skilled jobs over the next century.