BNFL, Canada, costs of nuclear, E.ON, France, Germany, long term costs of nuclear power, Magnox, NDA, nuc, nuclear energy, nuclear escrow fund, nuclear liabilities, nuclear power, nuclear utilities, nuclear waste, radioactive waste, reprocessing, Sellafield, Spent Fuel, Spent Nuclear Fuel, taxpayers, trust fund, UK, US, US DOE, WCS, WIPP
America’s most sophisticated nuclear waste facility “WIPP” built for deadly transuranic (plutonium, americium, etc.) remains closed due to this, which ejected plutonium and americium into the outer environment, too. WIPP is not for commercial nuclear waste.
WIPP, 22 May 2014
WCS Commercial Nuclear Waste Burial (also taking WIPP government waste “temporarily”). Nuclear waste is also being buried in the UK, France, and planned for Canada. This waste legally leaches deadly radiation into groundwater. It can blow-up, catch afire, like WIPP. The high cost of this cheaply constructed dangerous solution is eye-watering, too. While the above dumps are not for spent nuclear fuel, they contain the same deadly radionuclides (e.g. plutonium, americium, cesium).
Excerpted from Dr. Ian Fairlie’s recent article at the The Ecologist.org:
“Sunset over Sellafield … those nuclear liabilities will cost billions, and billions, for thousands of years.” Photo: Dom Crayford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).
“When the party’s over … the financial spectre at the end of nuclear power” by Dr Ian Fairlie, 1st October 2015
“There are two rules about the end costs of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie. It’s far more than you ever knew. And whatever sum of money was ever set aside, it’s nowhere near enough. Germany understands this. That’s why it refused to let E.ON spin off its nuclear liabilities into a hands-off company. But the UK, it seems, has lost the ability to learn from its nuclear mistakes.
“Governments and nuclear enthusiasts have assured the public that final waste repositories are nigh. But they have been saying this since the start of nuclear power in the 1950s, with little to show for it. There may, in fact, be no such method.”
Nuclear power has a wide spectrum of disadvantages. One is that when reactors are shut down for good, a host of financial liabilities continue with no income flow from the sale of nuclear electricity to pay for them.
The long term costs of nuclear power
Spent fuel. First is the managing of thousands of tonnes of spent fuel amassed over reactor lifetimes. The adjective ‘spent’ is perhaps misleading, as the fuel will remain extremely radioactive for decades, and progressively less radioactive for centuries.
Most European counties keep their spent fuel intact which is the safer form. The UK reprocesses its spent fuel so the problems here are even worse, as reprocessing makes waste considerably more difficult to manage.
Schemes for paying for nuclear wastes
The German Government has apparently proposed a deal to put nuclear liabilities (ie both spent fuel and decommissioning) in a trust, funded jointly by German nuclear utilities. This sounds a rational idea, but there’s something already like that for spent fuel in the US and its experience is discouraging 3.
Since the 1960s, all US nuclear utilities have had to pay into a national escrow fund held by the US Department of Energy who, for its part, was (and remains) mandated to find a technical solution for the wastes and to ‘take title’ of all US spent nuclear fuel.
However it has done neither: the result has been a long-running saga of political recriminations and lawsuits which make for pretty grim reading. It continues with no solution in sight.
The UK has a similar scheme with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) ‘receptacle’. BNFL’s and Magnox’s liabilities have already been transferred to the NDA 4, and (under a 2008 Act) the former British Energy’s AGRs, the Sizewell PWR and any new-build remnants are scheduled to go same way.
The NDA, which currently spends about £2.6 billion a year on decommissioning the UK’s first generation Magnox reactors, estimates that the total cost of handling all nuclear wastes will exceed (an undiscounted) £100 billion although these estimates tend to vary 5 according to who is reporting them.
However AGR decommissoning costs could be much greater than the NDA anticipates…
… in the 1980s the former CEGB’s (substantial) decommissioning fund was raided by the Government to pay for the construction of Sizewell B nuclear power station. Guess where the AGR / PWR decommissioning fund may wind up?
At the end of nuclear, onerous financial chickens come home to roost for nuclear utilities – and the squabbling begins as to who is going to carry the can. No wonder E.ON was keen to offload these liabilities, and the German Government less keen to accept them.…
… pity UK taxpayers in decades, centuries and millennia to come” Please read the entire article here: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985577/when_the_partys_over_the_financial_spectre_at_the_end_of_nuclear_power.html
(The late Hilda Murrell was probably assassinated due to her opposition to Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station, mentioned above. Her primary concern was that there was no solution for the nuclear waste. The next year, Willie MacRae was also mysteriously assassinated, probably due to his opposition to the burial of nuclear waste in Scotland.)
Dr. Fairlie’s recent Blog Post”33 Media Comments Opposing Hinkley C“, September 21, 2015, has selected gems such as “We must avoid sleepwalking into commercial dependency on Chinese companies that are quasi-state owned. The national grid is essential for the survival of the nation. It does not have to be put up for sale to the highest bidder.” The Times Sept 22 2015 Read more here: http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/21-media-comments-opposing-hinkley-c/