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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Sellafield report published

WIDER benefits of public spending at Sellafield are unclear, according to a government report.

The House of Commons Public Affairs Committee, which gave nuclear bosses a two hour grilling following a damning Audit Office report on Sellafield in November.
A report from the committee has raised serious concerns about the site, including just two of 14 major projects being completed to deadline and concerns that a reported £700m in savings at the site could have been ‘overstated’.
The report said how successive governments have failed to tackle problems at the site with lifetime decommissioning costs increasing and at present they stand at £67.5bn.
According to the report basic management failings have continued to cause delays and increase costs, while doubts remain over the robustness of the decommissioning plan, in particular whether the authority is progressing the development of the geological disposal facility as quickly as possible.
Margaret Hodge MP, chairwoman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “It is unclear how long it will take to deal with hazardous radioactive waste at Sellafield or how much it will cost the taxpayer.
“Of the 14 current major projects, 12 were behind schedule in the last year and five of those were over budget.
“Furthermore, now that Cumbria County Council has ruled out West Cumbria as the site of the proposed geological disposal facility, a solution to the problem of long-term storage of the waste is as far away as ever.
“Taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
“Private contractors who gain contracts take no risk because of the uncertainties that persist.
“The authority needs to determine when it will have enough certainty over costs to transfer risk to the private sector.
“Taxpayers are not getting a good deal from the Authority’s arrangement with Nuclear Management Partners. Last year the consortium was rewarded with £54 million in fees, despite only two out of 14 major projects being on track.
“All payments to Nuclear Management Partners and, indeed to its constituent companies, need to be strictly controlled and determined by the value gained, so that payments are not made where companies have not delivered.
“Public money to the tune of £1.6bn is being spent at Sellafield each year.
“This is an area of considerable deprivation with high unemployment.
“We are looking for there to be clearer ambition that spending on this huge scale contributes to creating jobs and supports sustainable growth in the region and the UK.”

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