Department of Energy and Climate Change
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Government finalises new nuclear clean framework

In a step designed to protect the taxpayer and provide investor certainty, the Government has set out statutory guidance for new nuclear operators to produce plans for funding the decommissioning of their power stations and managing their radioactive waste. This will enable new nuclear operators to come forward with clear plans to deal with decommissioning and radioactive waste management for approval by the Secretary of State.

Alongside this, the Government confirmed how it will calculate the price operators will pay for the disposal of nuclear waste in a geological disposal facility.

Charles Hendry, Energy Minister, said:

“We are determined to encourage investment in new nuclear in the UK, and have taken a number of steps to do this. Publishing this guidance today takes us another step closer to enabling that investment to come to fruition.

“Nuclear operators will have to prove they have a credible plan for funding the decommissioning and safe management of their radioactive waste. This is the best way to protect taxpayers from having to pick up the bill.”

The Guidance sets out that:

  • operators must have insolvency-proof funds set aside for nuclear clean-up from day one of nuclear operation;
  • operators must have a realistic, clearly-defined, and achievable plan for the decommissioning of any site, with a robust estimate of costs;
  • funds set aside for clean up must be administered independently of the operator and the Government.

The Government response to the consultation on Waste Transfer Pricing sets out a framework for the safe disposal of nuclear waste from new nuclear power stations without cost to the taxpayer which facilitates investment through providing cost certainty.

Notes for editors:

  1. The Government’s policy on Geological Disposal of nuclear waste is on the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely section of DECC's website.

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