Seven-fold increase in liability for nuclear operators

The government today (January 24) underlined that nuclear energy has a role to play in Britain's future energy needs but will not receive public funds.

Announcing new proposals for nuclear site liabilities, Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said: "The government is determined to provide certainty to low carbon investors, but there will be no public subsidy for nuclear power which is a mature technology.

"We are taking steps to reduce any risk of the taxpayer having to pick up the tab for new nuclear further down the track."

In the proposals announced today, Mr Huhne said that there would be a seven-fold increase in liability for nuclear sites.

Nuclear operators will be expected to take on liability of Euro 1.2 billion for each site. Currently the liability stands at £140 million.

This proposal follows changes to the Paris and Brussels Conventions on third party liability.The Conventions establish an international (mainly western European) framework for compensating victims of a nuclear incident.

Chris Huhne said: "We are taking steps to reduce any risk of the taxpayer having to pick up the tab for new nuclear further down the track.

"We've already set out how operators will be required to put aside money from day one for their eventual clean up and waste storage, and now we're increasing substantially the liability to be taken on by operators."

The proposals also increases the categories of damage for which operators are liable to include damage related to the environment.

A consultation will run from 24 January to 28 April 2011 and will obtain views on the way the government intends to implement the changes in UK legislation. Alison Brown


DECC | nuclear


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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