NDA not enough

Steuart Campbell (Letters, 12 April) and Colin Gibson (Letters, 14 April) both wrote to take issue with my statement (Letters, 11 April) that there will be a high cost to pay for the decommissioning of nuclear power stations.

Mr Campbell states that the taxpayer will not have to pay for decommissioning as the costs will be covered by levies made on sales to consumers, who are in the main taxpayers, to 
create the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF).

Mr Gibson says that the NLF has been funded by customers and no further charges will be necessary because the fund of £8.8 billion will cover the costs of decommissioning.

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The reality is probably a little more complicated.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has responsibility for managing decommissioning power stations and nuclear waste management.

It has calculated that over the next couple of decades its work will cost £70bn.

It estimates that project income will reduce that amount by £14bn to £56bn.

By that measure, £8.8bn will cover around 16 per cent of the overall costs, so it seems likely that the taxpayer consumer will be paying for nuclear decommissioning for many years to come.

That probability is reflected in the NDA’s accounts.

It has an annual budget of £3.2bn of which £0.9bn is projected to come from project income. £2.3bn of its budget comes in the form of Government Grant Aid.

In other words, from the UK taxpayer.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh