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Government reiterates plans for dealing with waste from new nuclear

Energy Secretary Edward Davey has reiterated the government’s policy that new nuclear operators cover their waste and decommissioning costs.

He was speaking as the government published a report by the University of Sussex’s Science and Technology Policy Research Unit into the history of managing nuclear waste that concludes that Britain is now well placed to handle new nuclear facilities.

The report says that the creation and funding of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority shows that the government is now committed to long term planning to deal with the nuclear legacy and has put in place structures to do so that are “clearly superior” to those that came before.It adds that spending on nuclear decommissioning, which is ring-fenced, has increased significantly and spending on the highest priorities is protected.

The report also highlights work to tighten the liability of operators towards third parties. The government held a public consultation in January 2011 on its proposals to implement the revised Paris and Brussels Conventions on nuclear third party liability. Among other aims, the Conventions set out a framework for enabling victims to claim compensation for damage caused after a nuclear incident. The consultation has now closed and it will publish its response shortly.

“The coalition wants to see new nuclear power come forward as part of a balanced energy mix. It is secure, low carbon and will support thousands of jobs in construction and operation. But there will be no subsidy, operators will be required to put money aside from day one to meet future clean up and waste costs and we intend to substantially increase operators’ third party liabilities,” said Davey.

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