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£250bn of nuclear decommissioning works in the pipeline

Nuclear power station

The international nuclear decommissioning market will be worth £250bn by 2030, a senior government figure has said.

A total of 166 commercial nuclear reactors have been shut down worldwide, but only 20 have been decommissioned and dismantled, presenting “huge’’ business opportunities for UK companies.

There is already around £70bn worth of work to be had. Opportunities available now include £50bn worth of work in Germany as the country races to abandon nuclear power and £8bn in Sweden, Department for International Trade Energy and Infrastructure director Campbell Kier told the Decom2018 conference last week.

“It is one of the largest decommissioning opportunities in the world, and although Germany has the capability, they are going to need help to achieve that outcome. They’re going to close their 17 nuclear power stations as soon as possible,” said Kier.

Around £10bn of work is available at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was hit by a tsunami in March 2011, and the Department for International Trade is part of a strong working group with the Japanese government to facilitate British business in the country. 

Kier said: “Many people around the world look to the UK as an exemplar in how to do it. We were the first in the world to involve ourselves with commercial nuclear power and I think that is a good foundation.

“We have also started decommissioning. I was in Japan earlier this year and it was very clear that where the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority moved swiftly to help with the Fukushima Daiichi problem held great sway in Japan, and they look to us as an example of how to do civil nuclear and how to do decommissioning.”

Kier also identified Bulgaria’s Kozloduy power plant and the Bohunice site in Slovakia as business opportunities for British companies, while longer term prospects are available in France, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Belgium and Ukraine.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates is planning a “robust’’ nuclear waste disposal infrastructure programme and is keen to learn from British experience, Kier said. 

“The role of decommissioning is going to get ever more important, and there are huge opportunities overseas,” Kier added. “We have supply, and I only hope that will grow stronger, and there is a demand around the world.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • When you distribute these decommissioning costs onto the price of power, where are we with the cost of electricity....noting this cost doesn't cover storage costs of radioactive material.

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