Decommissioning nuclear reactors
Posted on 22 Nov 2014 and read 3031 times
In its latest annual report, the Paris-based International Energy Agency warns that governments across the world are significantly underestimating the cost of decommissioning nuclear reactors.
It says that the bill will exceed $100 billion over the next 25 years alone, and it points out that almost 200 reactors are due to be shut down by 2040, whereas only 10 have been decommissioned since 1970.
IEA chief economist Fatih Bitol said: “This is an urgent area that needs consideration. We are calling on regulators and utilities to ensure that enough funds are set aside to cover future expenses.” In addition, the IEA estimates that the amount of spent nuclear fuel will double to more than 700,000 tonnes by 2040. “Even now — some 60 years after the first nuclear power plant started operation — no country has yet opened a permanent disposal facility for commercial high-level waste.”
Commenting on the report, Paul Dorfman of the Energy Institute at University College London pointed out that the IEA’s figure of $100 billion is only for decommissioning and does not include the costs of permanent waste disposal. “The UK’s own decommissioning and waste disposal costs are £85 billion alone, so that gives you an idea of the astronomical costs associated with nuclear decommissioning.”