Nuclear waste costs Department for Energy and Climate Change £1.9bn - two-thirds of budget

Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are being spent decommissioning nuclear power facilities in projects that have overrun by years and have been poorly managed, it has been revealed.

As much as two-thirds of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s entire budget is being spent on dealing with the country’s post-war nuclear legacy, costing £1.9bn in the last year alone, according to a damning report by professional services company KPMG.

The vast majority of the UK’s nuclear waste is at the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria where the bill for dealing with the waste has already reached £67bn and is rising.

Sellafield nuclear power station

Sellafield nuclear power station

For the past five years, the task of decontaminating the facility has been in the hands of private company Nuclear Managtement Partners, but the KPMG report exposed a litany of missed deadlines, rising costs and poor management, according to ThisIsMoney.co.uk.

Of 69 targets the firm set out to meet this year, only 77% have been achieved, already representing an overspend of £180m for 2013.

Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge said: “This is a saga of constantly escalating costs and changing deadlines, always justified simply by the difficulty of the project.  I know that it is a difficult project, and we all care passionately about dealing with nuclear waste safely, but that does not provide a sufficient excuse […] for the absolutely appalling waste of public money we are seeing here. It is like scattering confetti. That is what it feels like to me every time I think about it.”

She added: “The budget increases from £1.6bn to £1.8bn a year, which is a 12 per cent increase at a time when everywhere else in the public sector is expected to reduce spending, and you increase the share of efficiency savings. It is mind-boggling.”

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