The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) shares the alarm of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chair, Margaret Hodge MP, over a huge increase in the nuclear decommissioning costs at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria.
Mrs Hodge has given the bosses at Sellafield a week to explain why decommissioning costs at the plant have soared by £5 billion in just a year.
Mrs Hodge said: “Despite my Committee’s calls in February 2014 for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to make big improvements, the cost of cleaning up the nuclear waste at Sellafield continues to soar and has risen by an astonishing £5 billion to £53 billion in February 2015, from £48 billion on 31 March 2014.
“The Authority’s work at Sellafield is not just costing more, it is also taking much longer than planned and, for 2014-15, it looks like work will be behind schedule for the fourth year running.
“It has taken far too long for the Authority to deal with management incompetence at Sellafield. My Committee concluded in February 2014 that the Authority had not demonstrated why Nuclear Management Partners’ ownership of Sellafield provides value for money.
“Yet the Authority only took the decision in January 2015 to terminate this contract with Nuclear Management Partners, which is almost a year after my Committee told it to do so if performance did not improve. It is galling that breaking the contract will cost the public purse £430,000.” (1)
The Public Accounts Committee have asked the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Sellafield Ltd to explain the costs increase, how the escalation of costs can be curtailed and how performance is to be improved at its next meeting on the 11th March.
NFLA fully supports the frustration of Mrs Hodge and other members of the Public Accounts Committee. NFLA remain highly concerned that the NDA and Sellafield Ltd appear to not have the procedures in place to limit decommissioning costs from increasing at such an alarming rate. £5 billion is a huge increase in just one year, and it has to be questioned. This is public money, and it is the most obvious example of the damage to the public purse that has come from 70 years of supporting the nuclear industry.
NFLA Chair Councillor Mark Hackett said:
I share Margaret Hodge’s frustration and anger at the ballooning decommissioning costs to clean up the Sellafield site. This is quite frankly scandalous. What other part of the public sector would get away with a £5 billion over-run in a single year? Such money would certainly assist all those Councils dealing with the worst level of spending cuts in our history. I applaud the Public Accounts Committee for bringing the Government and the nuclear industry to account for these failings. It demands answers, and so do we.”
For more information on this media release please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244 / 07771 930196 or Pete Roche, NFLA Scotland Policy Advisor on 0131 444 1445.
Notes for editors:
(1) News and Star, 4th March 2015