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Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:39 pm
by raspberry-blower
Well here's a surprise - NOT
The cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear waste site has reached £67.5bn with no sign of when the cost will stop rising, according to a report.

The Public Accounts Committee's report said deadlines to clean the Cumbria site had been missed, leaving crucial decommissioning projects over budget.

It suggested successive governments have failed to "get to grips" with the hoards of waste stored at the site.
Article in full

Re: Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:15 pm
by Little John
raspberry-blower wrote:Well here's a surprise - NOT
The cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear waste site has reached £67.5bn with no sign of when the cost will stop rising, according to a report.

The Public Accounts Committee's report said deadlines to clean the Cumbria site had been missed, leaving crucial decommissioning projects over budget.

It suggested successive governments have failed to "get to grips" with the hoards of waste stored at the site.
Article in full
I'd be interested to know how much money Sellafield has saved in purchased energy from abroad in the form of gas etc as compared to the cost of construction, maintainance and decomissioning as well as the cost of long-term containment of waste. I have a nasty feeling it is going to cost far money than it will ever have made.

Surely someone has performed and published such an analysis?

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:13 pm
by RenewableCandy
Perfomed, maybe. Published, no. Some of the stuff at Sellafield apparently has a military history. At least, that's what people tend to say to get out of answering questions about it.

Of course other people, sometimes related to this first lot, will then tell you that there's nothing military about "civil" nuclear power.

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:25 pm
by clv101
RenewableCandy wrote:Some of the stuff at Sellafield apparently has a military history.
I would argue that probably most of the cost associated with Sellafield can be traced back to its military history. Do other countries with civilian only nuclear power have similar legacy sites? I don't think so.

I also suspect that most of the cost associated with Sellafield can be traced back to its first couple of decades. This is the cost of R&D, it's the cost of being first, Calder Hall was the fist grid connected pile anywhere in the world. It's no wonder we didn't have a good understanding or consideration of the eventual cleanup.

In someways 'we' made a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot on that site - which other nuclear countries that came a decade or two later were then able to avoid.

I think it's pretty meaningless to divided Sellafield's costs by the TWh of power generated to date. I also don't think the activities that went on there decades ago and the problems we're now having to deal with are particularly relevant with new-build nuclear.

Re: Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:27 pm
by clv101
stevecook172001 wrote:I'd be interested to know how much money Sellafield has saved in purchased energy from abroad in the form of gas etc as compared to the cost of construction, maintainance and decomissioning as well as the cost of long-term containment of waste. I have a nasty feeling it is going to cost far money than it will ever have made.
Without a doubt! However, had we built a dozen PWR (Sizewell B) reactors in the 1990s (i.e. if Chernobyl had't happened) the equation, our energy security and certainly our carbon emissions would all look a lot better.

If Chernobyl hadn't happened, there's a chance the whole of Europe could be running on low-carbon (nuclear and renewables) by now. Funny how a few blokes, running a silly experiment can have such a huge impact on the world.

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:03 pm
by JavaScriptDonkey
RenewableCandy wrote:Perfomed, maybe. Published, no. Some of the stuff at Sellafield apparently has a military history. At least, that's what people tend to say to get out of answering questions about it.

Of course other people, sometimes related to this first lot, will then tell you that there's nothing military about "civil" nuclear power.
There's no doubt about it. We needed to run a nuclear program in order to get weapons grade material. It's so secret it's even in Wikipedia.

Re: Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:20 pm
by raspberry-blower
clv101 wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote:I'd be interested to know how much money Sellafield has saved in purchased energy from abroad in the form of gas etc as compared to the cost of construction, maintainance and decomissioning as well as the cost of long-term containment of waste. I have a nasty feeling it is going to cost far money than it will ever have made.
Without a doubt! However, had we built a dozen PWR (Sizewell B) reactors in the 1990s (i.e. if Chernobyl had't happened) the equation, our energy security and certainly our carbon emissions would all look a lot better.

If Chernobyl hadn't happened, there's a chance the whole of Europe could be running on low-carbon (nuclear and renewables) by now. Funny how a few blokes, running a silly experiment can have such a huge impact on the world.
Chris, it is a red herring to suggest that Chernobyl killed the nuclear industry stone dead in the UK. It didn't. Your logic excludes the fact that Sizewell B was commissioned and built post Chernobyl. The original Hinkley Point C received planning permission in 1990. However:
An earlier proposal for a Hinkley Point C power station was made by the Central Electricity Generating Board in the 1980s for a sister power station to Sizewell B, using the same pressurised water reactor design. This proposal obtained planning permission in 1990 following a public enquiry, but was dropped as uneconomic in the early 1990s when the electric power industry was privatised and low discount rate government finance was no longer available.
That's the reason why there has been no new nuclear build in the UK - market privatization. Not Chernobyl.

Re: Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:52 pm
by clv101
raspberry-blower wrote:That's the reason why there has been no new nuclear build in the UK - market privatization. Not Chernobyl.
And in the rest of Europe? The world? Chernobyl certainly played a huge role in the almost total freeze on nuclear in the western world.

Sure, economics played a part - but nuclear power would have evolved very differently without Chernobyl.

Re: Sellafield clean up costs reach £67.5 bn

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:17 am
by raspberry-blower
clv101 wrote:
raspberry-blower wrote:That's the reason why there has been no new nuclear build in the UK - market privatization. Not Chernobyl.
And in the rest of Europe? The world? Chernobyl certainly played a huge role in the almost total freeze on nuclear in the western world.

Sure, economics played a part - but nuclear power would have evolved very differently without Chernobyl.
Have you got links/references for this, please?

This is somewhat irrelevant to the point that I am making.
How many European countries privatized their energy markets in the 1990s to the extent the UK did?
Did the US privatize its energy market in the way the UK did in the 1990s? No
Therefore you are comparing apples to oranges here.

The bottom line is this:
Thatcher's government had plans to build 10 PWR nuclear reactors in the UK - a direct response to the 3 day week. She also wanted more energy from gas and reduce the UK's reliance on coal.
Thatcher also wanted to privatize as much as she could - this included the energy markets.
The two were directly competing policies as nuclear new build is not attractive to private enterprise as they are inherently expensive to build whereas operating them is relatively cheap.
This came to a head after Thatcher had been ousted - privatization won, nuclear lost.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:24 pm
by Blue Peter
I must admit to being very confused on this. We had plans to build 10 PWRs, and if we had things might have been very different. On the other hand, even building one nuclear reactor seems very difficult at the moment (a Finnish one is well over-due and over-cost). According to Centrica, it's not even worth giving it a go.

This doesn't seem to add up.

Do we have a good figure for the EROEI for nuclear, or do we have two sets of figures which mirrors the above, very high and very low?


Peter.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:32 pm
by emordnilap
Blue Peter wrote:I must admit to being very confused on this. We had plans to build 10 PWRs, and if we had things might have been very different. On the other hand, even building one nuclear reactor seems very difficult at the moment (a Finnish one is well over-due and over-cost). According to Centrica, it's not even worth giving it a go.
Subsidies.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:35 pm
by Blue Peter
emordnilap wrote:
Blue Peter wrote:I must admit to being very confused on this. We had plans to build 10 PWRs, and if we had things might have been very different. On the other hand, even building one nuclear reactor seems very difficult at the moment (a Finnish one is well over-due and over-cost). According to Centrica, it's not even worth giving it a go.
Subsidies.
Yes...but, there seems to be such a mismatch between the two: 10 easy-peasy versus can't even do one. What kind of subsidies are we talking about?


Peter.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:44 pm
by emordnilap
Plenty of bits about it in interwebland.

Here, for instance. Or try insuring against a Fukushima, for instance. Only governments can (though not even then). Besides, nuclear has been subsidised from day zero. AFAIK, it has never ever made a profit.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:11 pm
by biffvernon
The nuclear industry has never been properly insured. It's uninsurable. That's just another of the hidden subsidies.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:31 pm
by Blue Peter
emordnilap wrote:Plenty of bits about it in interwebland.
But it's sorting out the wheat from the chaff. I can find people who say EROEI is 100 and people who say it's 5 (ball park figures). That thorium is the way forward or CANDU or that it's never made a profit in its life, and never will....


Peter.