HC Deb 17 June 1994 vol 244 cc669-70W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the value of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's nuclear decommissioning liabilities.

Mr. Eggar

When the UKAEA last estimated its decommissioning liabilities in 1990 the estimate was of the order of £3 billion to £4 billion, undiscounted, including liabilities for fuels and wastes. This estimate was based largely on preliminary technical assessments. The estimate has now been updated by a much more detailed and systematic review which started several years ago and which has looked individually at each of the UKAEA's many facilities.

The UKAEA's new central estimate of the cost of decommissioning facilities on its own sites is £6 billion. It also has estimated liabilities of £2 billion for fuels and wastes, and for decommissioning and waste management on BNFL sites—therefore, a total liability of £8 billion. These estimates are undiscounted, in 1993–94 prices. Discounted at 2 per cent. for comparison with figures published by other nuclear businesses, the total estimated cost is £5 billion.

The increase reflects the more systematic review, together with the inclusion in the new estimate of the costs of infrastructure, of care and maintenance where final decommissioning is deferred, and of programme management and supporting research.

Most of the expenditure will not arise until well into the future, with final decommissioning of some facilities taking place in the middle of next century or even later. Because of the unique nature of many of the UKAEA's individual facilities, the cost estimate remains subject to considerable uncertainty. The UKAEA believes that around its total central estimate of £8 billion, the total cost could lie in the range £6 billion to £12 billion.

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