Who Pays for Worst Case Scenario: nuclear waste at Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point C. image from EDF

Taxpayers will pick up the bill should the cost of storing radioactive waste produced by Britain’s newest nuclear power station soar, according to confidential documents which the government has battled to keep secret for more than a year.The papers confirm the steps the government took to reassure French energy firm EDF and Chinese investors behind the £24bn Hinkley Point C plant that the amount they would have to pay for the storage would be capped…

[The government]  released a “Nuclear Waste Transfer Pricing Methodology Notification Paper”. Marked “commercial in confidence”, it states that “unlimited exposure to risks relating to the costs of disposing of their waste in a GDF [geological disposal facility], could not be accepted by the operator as they would prevent the operator from securing the finance necessary to undertake the project”.

Instead the document explains that there will be a “cap on the liability of the operator of the nuclear power station which would apply in a worst-case scenario”. It adds: “The UK government accepts that, in setting a cap, the residual risk, of the very worst-case scenarios where actual cost might exceed the cap, is being borne by the government.”Separate documents confirm that the cap also applies should the cost of decommissioning the reactor at the end of its life balloo….Hinkley Point C developers face £7.2bn cleanup bill at end of nuclear plant’s life

Excerpt from Secret government papers show taxpayers will pick up costs of Hinkley nuclear waste storage, The Guardian, Oct. 30, 2016

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