UK government publishes proposals for nuclear clean-up, decommissioning

Operators will be required tohave decommissioning plans and secure funds in place before constructin

The UK government has published proposals on how operators of new nuclear power stations will have to make secure financial provision for decommissioning without recourse to the taxpayer, in line with the government's policy that there should be no subsidy for new nuclear.

As per the proposals, new nuclear operators will be required by law to put money aside from day one to pay for the eventual decommissioning costs and their full share of waste disposal.

The consultation on draft Funded Decommissioning Programme Guidance sets out how operators will be required to meet their obligation to have decommissioning plans and secure funds in place before constructing a new power station.

The government also published a consultation on a Waste Transfer Pricing Methodology, which sets out how a price will be determined for the disposal of new build higher activity waste in a planned Geological Disposal Facility.

The government intends to ensure the safe disposal of radioactive waste from new nuclear power stations without cost to the taxpayer, while facilitating investment through providing operators with the cost certainty they need to be able to invest.

The consultation includes the proposal that the government should set a cap on the waste transfer price, to provide operators with cost certainty.
The cap will be set at a very high level - the consultation suggests three times current cost estimates.

However, the government accepts that it is impossible to be certain that costs will not exceed the cap so, in return for setting the cap, the waste transfer price charged to new nuclear operators will include an additional 'risk fee' to compensate the government for accepting this small residual risk.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.