Nuclear costs 'to rise by billions'
Western Daily Press, 28 May 2008
Campaign groups have warned that the cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations was "spiralling out of control" after an official admission that an estimate of £73 billion was set to rise.
The £73 billion figure, published in January, was an increase of £12 billion on the previous estimate made in 2003, but a senior official at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said he believed the cost would continue to escalate.
Director Jim Morse told the BBC: "I think it's a high probability that in the short term it will undoubtedly go up."
Environmental campaigners reacted with anger to the admission and said a "radical new approach" to energy generation was needed.
Friends of the Earth's nuclear campaigner Neil Crumpton said: "Nuclear and fossil fuel power generation pose an enormous threat to the environment - and their cost to the economy is spiralling out of control.
"The Government must come forward with a comprehensive programme of action to cut energy waste and exploit the UK 's considerable potential for generating renewable power from wind, waves and the sun.
"The Government must seize the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in developing a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy - and create a safer and cleaner future for us all."
Ben Ayliffe, head of Greenpeace's nuclear campaign, said: "The Government's own experts have no idea how much it will cost to clean up nuclear waste. All they can do is guess that the figure will grow by billions of pounds from an already eye-popping £73 billion.
"To make matters worse, there is no guarantee that potential operators of new nuclear power stations will be made to pick up the full tab for dealing with their radioactive waste."
A spokesman for the Business and Enterprise Department said: "It's vital that we invest appropriately in the safe and secure clean up of the UK 's nuclear legacy. This is precisely why the Government set up the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which is establishing a competitive market in nuclear clean up that will drive down the eventual costs and encourage innovative solutions."