More NDA cost rises

7 April 2008

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has published an approved three-year business plan noting an overall decommissioning cost rise of £6.4 billion to £37 billion.

Publication of the approved plan for 2008–2011 comes after sustained criticism from UK MPs and the UK’s National Audit Office for escalating cost estimates since the NDA’s inception.

The cost rise is down to “better characterisation” of liabilities and improved, consistent site plans, according to the NDA.

The approved business plan includes detailed funding levels for the NDA’s 19 sites and shows more problems at the Sellafield site, in northern England.

The plan says poor performance of Sellafield’s Magnox reprocessing plant will delay reprocessing of irradiated fuel, changing the scheduled year of completion from 2012 to 2016 or later.

Through the site licence companies, the NDA plans to spend a total of £2.6 billion on site work over the next year. This compares to an equivalent spend of £2.5 billion over the last year.

The total budget for the next three years is £8.6 billion, an increase of £671 million compared with the NDA’s first three years.

The budget is centred on high-hazard sites such as Sellafield and Dounreay, in northern Scotland. Through prioritisation, lower hazard sites will lose out in terms of funding.

The Environment Agency for England and Wales highlighted this as a problem in its recent response at the draft stage of this business plan, where it asked for the NDA to identify the implications for other sites.

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