Public Accounts Committee – Thirty-Seventh Report HM Treasury: Whole of Government Accounts 2010-11 HM Treasury: Whole of Government Accounts 2010-11 – Public Accounts Committee Contents
11 April 2013 “…… The C&AG’s report on the 2010-11 WGA shows the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s estimated cost of civil nuclear decommissioning increased by around £16 billion to £53 billion between 2007 and 2011. We asked the Treasury how the WGA would be used to influence any decision made in relation to future investments in the nuclear sector. The Treasury acknowledged that not considering these costs when the power stations were built had been a mistake, and considered that the critical issue was to factor in these costs in future, so that the taxpayer would not be burdened with unexpected additional costs of £60 billion.[ http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/Claverton/message/10673
No workers were visible around the No. 3 reactor building. An unmanned crane was removing debris on the roof.
It is hazardous to human health to work in the reactor building where
radiation levels range from 20 to 100 millisieverts per hour.
The amount of radioactive water stored in tanks and other facilities
rose to 230,000 tons this month, up from 10,000 tons in July 2011.
In addition, an estimated 100,000 tons of water have accumulated in
the basements of buildings.
Decommissioning will not be completed for the next 30 to 40 years
High radiation bars decommissioning of Fukushima plant Asahi Shimbun,
February 21, 2013
By HISASHI HATTORI/ Senior Staff Writer
Preparations for the mammoth task of decommissioning crippled reactors
at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are being stymied by
continued high levels of radiation from the triple meltdowns there two
years ago. Read more »
Nuclear clean-up to cost £100bn and take 120 years. Decommissioning, no2nuclearpower, 9 December 2012 BRITAIN’S taxpayers will be landed with a bill of more than £100bn for cleaning up radioactive waste from sites such as Sellafield and Dounreay, according to the chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
The amount represents a near-doubling of the £56bn cleanup cost announced when the NDA began operating in 2005, and could rise still more. The warning comes as NDA engineers start work on some of the biggest and most expensive engineering projects seen in Britain — building giant robotic grabs to lift deadly nuclear waste from Sellafield’s decaying 1950s repositories.
The buildings being targeted include Sellafield’s B29 and B30 cooling ponds, where decaying 1950s fuel rods are stored. This weekend John Clarke, chief executive of the NDA, said he was spending £3bn a year on the cleanup, with about £1.6bn of that going on Sellafield alone. Such sums are similar to those spent on the London Olympic site at the peak of construction.
Figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that, since Britain’s first nuclear power station opened in 1956, they have generated 2.5 billion megawatt hours of electricity — worth £125 billion at today’s prices. If the cost of building Britain’s 20-odd nuclear power stations (around £10bn-£12bn each in today’s money), is included, it would far exceed the value of the power produced, say experts.
Such figures show why power companies, which would be responsible for the waste, are refusing to build new nuclear power stations without government guarantees of a consumer subsidy that will almost double the market price for their power.
Sunday Times 9th Dec 2012 more >> http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/daily12/daily.php?dailynewsid=343
Nuclear industry faces up to reality of ‘interesting times’ The Engineer, 7 December 2012 | ByStuart Nathan ”………Part of the problem is that the nuclear landscape is so complicated, especially in the UK, with its history as a nuclear
pioneer and the legacy of experiment that has left behind. John Clarke of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, again reflecting the mood of realism, put it in a way which pretty much everyone would understand. ‘It’s like telling children to put their toys away before getting out new ones. Clearing up the mess is a key enabler to new build.’
…… .it’s relatively easy to put toys away. Nuclear is different. ‘At Sellafield, we’re dealing with structures which were put up in the 1940s in great haste to support military programmes, where the only concern was “is it safe for today”,’ he said. ‘They were neverdesigned to have waste taken out of them, and the waste is poorly categorised — we often don’t really know what it is.’
The situation isn’t much better even at industrial-scale power stations, said Peter Walkden, commercial director of Magnox. ‘It was never going to be easy to decommission a 50 year old plant that was never designed to be decommissioned, under a regime that was designed for operation,’ he said. Decommissioning a Magnox plant takes the best part of a century — three years to defuel, then ten years of preparation for care and maintenance while radioactivity subsides (the stage that current decommissioning projects are in), followed by 85 years of care and maintenance, then about ten years to clear the site.
A bit more than just putting the toys away, and something that can’t be done before building new plants’. ….”
multinationals are aligning themselves into strategic relationships to attract the highly lucrative subcontracts coming on stream. Multi-disciplinary consultant Atkins recently formed a joint venture with French-based nuclear specialist Areva to bid for tier two work on decommissioning and fuel management projects in the UK.
Nuclear Legacy, The Construction Index, 23 Nov 12“…….To speed up the process, Sellafield Ltd, the site licence company owned by PBO Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), has started to implement a series of strategic alliances with a combined value of £9bn.
The first framework agreement – The Design Services Alliance – was awarded in February: a £1.5bn contract to The Progressive Alliance (led by Babcock and URS) and AXIOM (a consortium of Amec, Jacobs, Mott McDonald and Assystem). It is expected to extend to 15 years.
A joint venture between Morgan Sindall and Arup has recently been named preferred bidder for the second framework, the £1.1bn Infrastructure Strategic Alliance (ISA). Sellafield Ltd expects to announce the preferred bidder for its Multi Discipline Site Wide Works framework agreement before the end of 2012. Read more »
Only a handful of reactors worldwide have been fully dismantled, meaning the process is largely uncharted territory. Tearing apart reactor cores, for instance, creates unknown challenges and potential risks given the level of radiation inside them.
Aging Nuke Plants Add to Europe’s Economic Woes , Washington Examiner, By GARY PEACH Associated Press VISAGINAS, Lithuania November 17, 2012 (AP) The parking lot outside the atomic power plant is weedy and potholed. Bus stops that once teemed with hundreds of workers are eerily empty.
Yet the stillness at Ignalina, a Lithuanian nuclear plant built in the 1980s Soviet era, belies an unsettling fact: There is still nuclear fuel inside one of its two reactors, three years after it was shut due to safety concerns.
A temporary storage facility for spent fuel and radioactive waste is four years behind schedule, creating a money drain at a time when the 27-nation European Union grapples with a crippling economic crisis. States don’t need EU permission to build nuclear plants, but they need to abide by its safety rules and the problems at Ignalina have provoked threats from the EU to cut the funding promised for dismantling it. That raises concerns that the facility will be around for years, possibly decades, longer than planned.
Ignalina is turning out to be a hard lesson for Europe: It’s one thing to kill a nuclear power station; getting rid of the remains is another headache entirely.
Many experts downplay safety risks in delays to dismantling Ignalina
and two other communist-era plants in Slovakia and Bulgaria, but that
is little comfort to nearby residents who fear risks of a radioactive
leak will only grow with time……
Ignalina’s delays and massive cost overruns offer a cautionary tale
for the EU, which aims to dismantle dozens of nuclear facilities over
the next two decades.
In the poor nations of Eastern Europe, some fear offline nuclear
reactors left in limbo pose extraordinary risks.
“Lithuania cannot continue the decommissioning process for an
unlimited period and risk creating another Chernobyl in the middle of
Europe,” Zigmantas Balcytis, a Lithuanian member of the European
Parliament, has said.
A major nuclear disaster is much less likely in a closed plant than in
a live one. The Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency says an offline
plant contains only one-thousandth of the radioactive material of one
in operation. Still, there are dangers of smaller releases of
radioactivity into the air or soil, while workers face exposure to
lethal doses. …..
Dormant nuclear facilities could potentially pose a tantalizing prize
for terrorists or smugglers of nuclear materials, and experts point to
another worry: Only a handful of reactors worldwide have been fully dismantled, meaning the process is largely uncharted territory. Tearing apart reactor cores, for instance, creates unknown challenges and potential risks given the level of radiation inside them.
Steven Thomas, an energy expert at Britain’s Greenwich University,
says taking apart the core will likely require robots that are not yet
invented. “The robots we have at the moment won’t do it because the
levels of radioactivity will send them berserk,” he said.
Ignalina presents particular challenges. The nuclear fuel rod bundles,
at 7 meters (23 feet), are twice as long as those in conventional
plants and must be sawed in half to fit into storage casts.
Spent nuclear fuel is by far the biggest decommissioning headache. It
is extremely radioactive and will remain so for thousands of years. In
the U.S. and elsewhere it’s a political bomb because no state or
county wants to store it. France chooses to reprocess its fuel for
further use in reactors, while Sweden and Finland bury it in casks
In the long term Lithuania hopes to send its fuel back to Russia,
where it was manufactured. But for now it has nowhere to put many
spent fuel bundles since the temporary storage facility that was
supposed to be ready when the plant closed in 2009 is still not
Decommissioning work in Lithuania, Slovakia and Bulgaria has been held
up by vague contracts, lengthy regulatory approval, commercial
disputes and management changes, according to officials involved in
Since closing the plants was a condition for their joining the bloc,
the EU is paying almost the entire bill, and for taxpayers, it’s huge
—more than €2 billion ($2.6 billion) so far, over half of it to
Ignalina, the most troublesome. The three countries have re-estimated
total costs at €5.3 billion ($6.8 billion) — up from the original
estimate of €4 billion ($5.1 billion) — and doesn’t include the
toughest job, dismantling the reactor cores.
The job was due to be completed between 2025 and 2035, but may take
much longer and cost more. That’s a disturbing omen for the EU’s
plans to shut down one-third of its member states’ 143 active reactors
by 2025. The bloc currently has 77 reactors offline in various stages
Other EU countries will have to foot the bill for closing their own
plants, adding to taxpayers’ woes…….
In its heyday, the Ignalina plant near the border with Russia employed
5,000 people and provided power to Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and
Russia. Although 2,000 people still work there, the atmosphere inside s almost funereal. http://washingtonexaminer.com/aging-nuke-plants-add-to-europes-economic-woes/article/2513836
Aging Nuke Plants Add to Europe’s Economic Woes, By GARY PEACH Washington Examiner, Associated Press VISAGINAS, Lithuania November 17, 2012“…….Other EU countries will have to foot the bill for closing their own plants, adding to taxpayers’ woes. In Germany, it will be in addition to energy price increases as the government scrambles to finance an ambitious switch from nuclear to renewables, which should account for 60 percent of total energy consumption by 2030.
Just last month Germany’s main utilities announced that households could see their
electricity bill jump up to 50 percent in order to finance this transition from nuclear power.
Experts say that disassembling atomic plants promises to be far costlier than previously estimated, given the lack of experience worldwide and nuclear operators’ propensity to underestimate decommissioning costs to make new projects look more attractive.
Thomas of Greenwich University said in Britain nuclear operators were supposed to pay for the decommissioning, but over the decades the cost was passed to the government, which will have to come up with €120 billion ($153 billion) over the next century to dismantle the
country’s existing nuclear power plants.
Just abandoning the facilities with radioactivity trapped inside is not an option. But given the enormous expenditures, some governments are opting to drag out the decommissioning over many decades…… http://washingtonexaminer.com/aging-nuke-plants-add-to-europes-economic-woes/article/2513836
Recommend that you go to this link, as the page has many very informative graphics.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/16/nuclear-waste-sellafield How much do we spend on nuclear waste? Duncan Clark guardian.co.uk, 16 November 2012 Last week, a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO)highlighted the spiralling costs of running Sellafield, the UK’s huge nuclear
reprocessing and storage site. Duncan Clark reviews the data
How much do we spend on nuclear decommissioning and waste handling? Read more »
What is not tolerable is that the funds are managed by the operators”
Over the past six yeas there has been a veritable veil pulled over this subject.”
French Nuclear Dismantling Funds May Fall Short, Report Says http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-24/french-nuclear-dismantling-funds-may-fall-short-report-says.html By Tara Patel – Jul 24, 2012 Electricite de France SA and Areva SA (AREVA), along with other French nuclear operators, may not be setting aside enough funds to pay for future dismantling of reactors and treatment and storage of atomic waste, according to a parliamentary report.
Cost estimates by atomic operators don’t have a “safety margin and risk being raised in the future,” according to a report published today by a national panel charged with evaluating the financial costs of atomic decommissioning. Current estimates carry “large margins of uncertainty.” Read more »
consultancy Arthur D. Little has put the total costs at no less than €18 billion…..
Dismantling a nuclear plant until it has completely vanished can take several decades, depending on which technique is used.
the process of fully decommissioning a plant can take more than 40 years,
Germany’s pricey nuclear burial, Climate Spectator , 18 Jul 2012, Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff “…..by 2014, almost nothing will be left of what once was Germany’s first commercial boiling water reactor. Germany’s decision to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022, Read more »
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