The government body given the job of cleaning up Britain’s old nuclear power stations has warned that taxpayers will have to help plug a looming multimillion-pound gap in its finances left by shrinking revenues. David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said revenues would fall more than 10% annually in coming years due to the end of an era of nuclear waste reprocessing. One plant ceased operations in November and another will stop in two years. The group has a £3bn annual budget to clean up 17 old nuclear sites around the UK, but earns £1bn a year from services including repurposing spent nuclear fuel. “I don’t think we can fill the hole completely,” Peattie said. He hopes to offset some of the losses by making better use of the NDA’s fleet of four ships that operate out of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The ships were used to bring spent fuel from as far afield as Japan back to the UK for reprocessing. Peattie also hopes to secure more non-nuclear work such as the non-food cargo it handles for Tesco using its rail business, which runs around 100 locomotives. The rail unit transports waste from nuclear power stations to be stored at the NDA’s biggest and most costly site, Sellafield in Cumbria. The final bill could also be reduced, said Peattie if the public accepted that not all old nuclear facilities would be returned to a pristine field of “buttercups and daisies”.
Observer 16th Dec 2018 read more »