Nuclear clean up pays off for UK taxpayers

UK taxpayers face a smaller bill after the organisation responsible for cleaning up Britain's old nuclear power sites reported an income rise.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) commercial income rose £517m to £2n almost halving its government grant from £1.6 billion in 2007-2008 to £898m, according to its annual report and accounts published this month.

Acting chief executive Richard Waite said: “The more income we can generate, the more we can offset the cost of decommissioning and clean-up to the UK taxpayer.”

The income improvement on the previous year is in part due to increased electricity sales from the Wylfa and Oldbury nuclear power plants.

Oldbury was granted permission to keep producing power beyond its scheduled closure date late last year.

An NDA spokesman said: “The reason we have been able to ask the government for less money last year was the big rise in commercial income through our two remaining power stations, Oldbury and Wylfa, doing better than expected.

“Especially Oldbury, we got it back on track a lot quicker than we thought and because electricity prices have been reasonably high we got more money than we thought. Plus our reprocessing contracts have gone well.”

The annual report and accounts were laid before parliament last Monday (July 20).

They showed the NDA had delivered its programme within a £2.7bn budget and with £183 million of savings ploughed back into the clean up.

NDA chairman Stephen Henwood said: “This report shows clearly that the NDA is now moving into full delivery mode, getting to grips with our core clean-up mission as the evidence shows for each site.”

The NDA owns all the Magnox gas-cooled reactors along with old research sites and fuel cycle facilities from the UK nuclear power programme.

“It is in the key area of hazard reduction that I am most pleased,” said Mr Henwood: “This is what we were created to do.

“Defuelling is now complete or underway at 7 out of 9 closed Magnox stations and another is about to start this summer.

“Good progress is being made in the major projects at Sellafield that will reduce the risks from our highest hazards and at Dounreay we have seen real progress in tackling parts of the legacy that were previously considered too difficult; these are real achievements to be proud of.”

The NDA has reportedly estimated the total cost for decommissioning and

clean up at £44.5bn.

For the full report and accounts click


David Gibbs

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie