05 February 2013
A balanced debate around the costs of nuclear decommissioning is required says Europe’s leading engineering institution.
Simon Harrison, Chairman of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Energy Policy Panel said: “It is hard to see how the UK's projected future electricity demand and energy security can be met without an element of new nuclear power to replace some of the existing nuclear stations as they come to the end of their lives.
“In considering the recently published figures for the Sellafield clean-up, it is worth remembering that a large proportion of the costs have arisen as a result of the early military programmes which were conceived and undertaken under considerable time pressure and under the dark shadow of the nuclear arms race. This was at a time when facilities were designed without decommissioning in mind and when future waste management was not accorded the priority it now is.
“If new civil nuclear electricity generating capacity is commissioned in the UK, waste management and end of life decommissioning will be taken properly into account from the start, and so will be proportionately less expensive to deal with than the historic legacy of the early days of the UK's military programmes.”
Earlier this week, the Public Accounts Committee published a report concluding that the total lifetime cost of decommissioning the Sellafield site has now reached £67.5 billion.
The IET’s factfile on nuclear waste disposal can be downloaded at: http://www.theiet.org/factfiles/energy/nuc-waste-page.cfm
Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespersons.
The IET is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers with over 150,000 members in 127 countries.
For more information, visit www.theiet.org