Publishing its 2007-08 accounts, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) confirmed that the cost has increased from the £63bn calculated in the 2006-07 accounts.

Although the expected cost of the 130-year decommissioning and clean-up programme is just £63.5bn, the accounts now also include the £10.1bn the NDA will contribute towards building and running a high level waste disposal facility.

It is the first time the NDA has published its estimates for the waste facility, which will cost an estimated total of £12.2bn at 2008 prices.

The £73.6bn cost is a rise of £20bn in since the NDA’s first estimates in its 2005-06 accounts.

Stephen Henwood, NDA Chairman, said: “When we took ownership for the 19 designated sites, it was clear that much work needed to be done to understand better the lifetime programme and costs for each site.

“After three years of investigation and analysis, we now have a much improved understanding. Inevitably, this has resulted in increased costs.”

But the NDA said it had exceeded efficiency targets, by saving more than 2% a year in running costs from 2005 to 2008.

Authority chiefs added that the cost of cleaning up Dounreay has dropped by 10%, or £258m, while the costs of running the low level waste repository has been cut by 18%, or £32m.

Ministers have indicated that nuclear power will be an important part of the UK’s future energy needs.

Commenting on the UK’s future nuclear legacy, Mr Henwood said: “With Government policy now clear in support of new nuclear build, interest remains high in the NDA’s progress on its programme to decommission and clean-up the UK’s civil nuclear legacy.

“But comparisons between the legacy, which has its roots in early scientific research and military uses, and the downstream costs associated with new build are very hard to make.”

Kate Martin

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