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Nuclear Waste

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 5th November 2009.

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Photo of John Barrett John Barrett Shadow Work and Pensions Minister 10:30 am, 5th November 2009

What the Government's latest estimate is of the costs of disposal of the UK's current nuclear waste.

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Photo of David Kidney David Kidney Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Under the Energy Act 2004, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is responsible for the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's public civil nuclear sites. The cost of disposal is influenced by many different factors, including the inventory of waste, the timing of waste arisings, the geology at the site in question and the design of the geological disposal facility. The NDA's estimate, as given in its 2007-08 annual report, for the undiscounted total lifetime costs of a geological disposal facility for higher activity wastes is £12.2 billion.

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Photo of John Barrett John Barrett Shadow Work and Pensions Minister

Does the Minister accept that when the full costs of disposing of nuclear waste are taken into consideration, electricity generation by nuclear power proves to be a very expensive option?

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Photo of David Kidney David Kidney Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The hon. Gentleman must make a distinction between the historical cost, which we as a nation are picking up and our taxpayers are paying, and the future cost, which we will require the energy companies to cover in their propositions. They will make the decision whether it is economic to go forward on that basis, and so far some of those companies have made decisions totalling £13 billion of investment in new nuclear in this country.

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