MPs rap spiralling cost of decommissioning Sellafield

The cost of decommissioning and reprocessing the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria has climbed to £70bn and will rise to "astonishing" levels, with "poor" progress and "escalating" costs, the Public Accounts Committee have said.

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Sellafield management: Challenges are 'unprecedented'

Challenges of cleaning up waste at a Cumbria nuclear site are "unprecedented" and more complex than "any other operational or decommissioning nuclear site in the world", the head of the team overseeing Sellafield nuclear site.

NMP chairman Tom Zarges dodged claims costs were spiralling out of control and said the consortium was focused on building on "our experience of the last five years".

The challenges at Sellafield are unprecedented, with complexities exceeding any other operational or decommissioning nuclear site in the world, therefore demanding extraordinary technology and skills.

The first term of our contract has been characterised by many successes but also a number of disappointments and areas for improvement.

Our job now is to build on our experience of the last five years to safely and reliably deliver our customer's mission, while further accelerating the pace of change and providing value for money to the NDA, Government and the UK taxpayer.

– NMP chairman Tom Zarges

Taxpayers interests at Sellafield not 'being protected'

The consortium overseeing the clean up of waste at Sellafield nuclear site has failed to meet taxpayer demand and the National Audit Office should review the management of the site, MPs have said.

The American-led management were accused of failing to train and keep staff to the detriment of the project, as well as planning a future for the site which "doesn't make sense".

We are not confident taxpayers' interests are being protected in the contractual relationships between the private companies involved in managing and operating the Sellafield site.

The Authority has not properly explained how it is going to deal with the large stock of plutonium stored at a cost of around £40 million a year.

It wants to build a 'MOX' plant for converting plutonium into fuel for nuclear power stations - but no UK power stations can use this fuel.

The cost of building and operating a MOX plant would be more than the value of the fuel produced. It just doesn't make sense.

– Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge

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Cost of hazardous waste clean up at Sellafield at £70bn

The cost of cleaning up nuclear waste at Sellafield has soared to "astonishing" levels, with latest figures estimating the bill has already hit £70bn, according to a group of influential MPs.

Sellafield was site of Britain's worst nuclear accident in 1957 and was subject to a radiation scare at the end of last month. Credit: PA

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the cost would continue to rise and blasted "poor" progress at the Cumbria site.

They also accused Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), who were brought in to manage the clean up, of letting timescales slip and running a project with "escalating" costs.

Among a series of recommendations MPs called on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to terminate the contract with NMP if their performance did not improve.

The report said the consortium had been brought in six years ago to help Sellafield improve its performance and had its contract extended last October despite "spiralling costs and poor performance".

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