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Full Report: Sellafield clean-up costs to rise

Sellafield's senior managers have admitted that the cost of cleaning up the nuclear reprocessing site is likely to rise.

They have faced questions from MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, who made a visit to Workington.

The committee wants to know how long it will take to deal with hazardous waste, and how much it will cost the taxpayer.

Hannah Lomas was at the meeting.

You can watch her report here:

Sellafield bosses questioned over cost of cleaning up the nuclear reprocessing site

Sellafield
Sellafield Credit: PA

The Public Accounts Committe of the House of Commons has travelled to west Cumbria to hear evidence from Sellafield bosses, following a damning report which highlighted historic safety failures and neglect at the site.

The report found the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority faces a 'considerable challenge' in taking forward decommissioning at Sellafield. The Committee are due to start hearing evidence at 2pm in Workington. It follows an on site visit to Sellafield this morning.

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Sellafield scrutinised

A Parliamentary hearing will take place at the Sellafield nuclear plant later following a damning report.

The report said there were considerable challenges that have to be overcome as the site is decommissioned and concerns were raised about safety.

The meeting will take place at the Energus building in Workington at 2pm.

It follows a report from the National Audit Office which said that owing to historic neglect, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority faces a considerable challenge in taking forward decommissioning at Sellafield.

The evidence session, which will take the form of a Parliamentary hearing, will take evidence from John Clarke, of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, George Beveridge, of Sellafield Ltd, and Phil Wynn Owen, Acting Permanent Secretary and Mark Higson, Department of Energy and Climate Change.

"We are particularly keen to speak to the NDA because although we now see a more robust lifetime plan in place for Sellafield, we cannot say with certainty how long it will take to deal with hazardous radioactive waste at Sellafield or how much it will cost the taxpayer."

– Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee

MSPs quit over NATO decision

Two MSPs have quit the Scottish National Party over the decision to remain linked to NATO. John Finnie and Jean Urquhart will now sit in the Scottish Parliament as Independents.

Last week at the SNP conference, the party narrowly voted to decide to remain tied to NATO if Scotland becomes an independent country. It's thought the pair have quit as they believe that decision is at odds with the SNPs anti-nuclear stance.

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Nuclear protests held in Carlisle

Opponents of a proposed underground dumping of high level nuclear waste in west Cumbria held a protest outside Council offices in Carlisle this morning.

Cumbria County Council along with Copeland and Allerdale District Councils say they've taken Government advice and delayed a decision on the project for three months while more information on key areas is gathered.

The protest by the group Radiation Free Lakeland coincided with the Council's Cabinet Meeting.

Anti-nuclear protest

Opponents of a proposed underground dumping of high level nuclear waste in west Cumbria held a protest outside Council offices in Carlisle this morning.

Cumbria County Council along with Copeland and Allerdale District Councils say they have taken Government advice and delayed a decision on the project for three months.

The protest by the group Radiation Free Lakeland coincided with the Council's Cabinet Meeting.

New minister visits Cumbria

The new Minister for Energy and Climate change, Baroness Verma has visited the Sellafield plant in Cumbria.

She called for a continued and strong focus on decommissioning at the nuclear site and praised the dedication and professionalism of the workforce there.

The Minster also met with Cumbria council leaders to discuss the siting process for a geological disposal facility for nuclear waste. Baroness Verma said that finding a long term solution for dealing with the legacy of nuclear waste was vital for Cumbria:

“It has been extremely valuable to discuss with councillors in Cumbria the work that has already been done on the issue of siting a geological disposal facility, including the recent report by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) partnership.

“In light of Cumbria councillors’ move to defer a decision on whether to take part in the next stage of the process, I want to be clear that Government remains completely committed to a community-led and voluntarist approach. We will also work closely with the councils to provide the information and clarification they need.”

– Baroness Verma

She explained how useful her visit to the Sellafield plant had been adding:

“Visiting Sellafield really does drive home the sheer scale and size of the challenge posed by our nuclear legacy, and why we must continue to focus relentlessly on our world-leading decommissioning efforts.

“Decommissioning and cleaning up the site will take many decades, but I am very encouraged by the progress being made and the dedication and professionalism of everyone at the site.”

– Baroness Verma
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