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”Decommissioming” of UK’s dead nuclear reactors is likely to cost the tax-payer much more than planned for.

significant additional taxpayer support has been required, and more is likely to be necessary.

there is a risk that the taxpayer will have to make further
contributions.

A report from the UK’s National Audit Office examines whether the
government’s arrangements for decommissioning Britain’s fleet of
advanced-gas-cooled reactors offers value for money.

The UK has eight second generation nuclear power stations accounting for around 16% of total
UK electricity generation in 2020. Seven of the eight stations are Advanced
Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs), the design of which built on that of the first
generation of now closed Magnox reactors.

Under current plans, all the AGR
stations will have stopped generating electricity by 2028. Decommissioning
is envisaged to take just over 100 years under current plans. The Nuclear
Liabilities Fund (the Fund) was established to meet the costs of
decommissioning all seven AGRs plus a pressurised water reactor at Sizewell
B, but significant additional taxpayer support has been required, and more
is likely to be necessary.

The UK government has provided a guarantee to
underwrite the Fund if its assets are insufficient to meet the total costs
of decommissioning. In 2020, government contributed £5.1 billion ($6.8bn)
to strengthen the Fund’s position and the Fund has recently requested a
further £5.6 billion. The Fund’s assets were valued at £14.8 billion at
the end of March 2021. The aim is that growth in the Fund’s investments
will be sufficient to meet the long-term costs of decommissioning
(currently £23.5 billion).

However, cost estimates have doubled in real
terms since 2004/5. If this trend is maintained and investment growth is
not sufficient, there is a risk that the taxpayer will have to make further
contributions. Last year, the government entered into new arrangements to
decommission the seven AGR nuclear power plants, making EDF Energy
responsible for defueling. The decommissioning of the AGR nuclear power
stations, a 66-page report published by the National Audit Office (NAO)
examines whether these arrangements will lead to better value for money.
The NAO scrutinises public spending to help Parliament hold government to
account and improve public services. It says that while the arrangements
could deliver savings, their success will ultimately depend on the relevant
parties working collaboratively to overcome risks.

 Nuclear Engineering International 20th April 2022

https://www.neimagazine.com/features/featurearrangements-for-decommissioning-the-agrs-9640510/

April 23, 2022 - Posted by | decommission reactor, UK

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