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Shap's "Nuclear Renaissance" ignores escalating costs and dangers we face

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

This week the U.K. Government announced a "nuclear renaissance" with the promise of a succession of small nuclear at sites across the U.K. Grant Shaps believes idenifiying sites will be easy.


Last year the Guardian reported that the "UK's nuclear waste cleanup operation could cost £260bn" on existing installations. Much of this is accounted for on one site, Sellafield (Windscale) "one of the most hazardous sites in the world" according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which the Government has itself set up to address an escalating problem.


The concerns surrounding various alternatives of energy supply have long debated, with particular fears of repetition the experience of global effects of nuclear "accidents", not least Sellafield. Arthur Scargill was invited to speak to the Trade and Industry Committee in Parliament on 10th December, 1998. (See https://youtu.be/_8wNKLkszBA)


Arthur Scargill foretold the situation that has now materialised including the still hidden cost in decommissioning existing sites which are escalating expontentially as the figures below indicate. Similarly the energy crisis emerging needs a look at alternative sources of energy when some are ruled out. With the possibilities of developing carbon capture technology exist, but ruled out because of cost, there is a need to revisit. Whereas it was considered uneconomic prices in Europe of products developed have risen to a level where that is no longer the case. Figures are shown in extracts from Wikipedia with links given to entries giving information in some detail.


Excerpt from Wikipedia entry re decommissioning nuclear installations ending after ending their productive life and costs of maintaining safety in the event of faults arising:


Sellafield accounts for most of the decommissioning cost and increase in cost. Its share (discounted, including Calder Hall and Windscale; excluding Capenhurst) increased from 21.9 billion (65%) in 2007[29] to 97.0 billion (82%) in 2019.[31]

In 2013, the UK Government Public Accounts Committee issued a critical report stating that NMP had failed to reduce costs and delays. Between 2005 and 2013, the annual costs of operating Sellafield had increased from £900 million to about £1.6 billion. The estimated lifetime undiscounted cost of dealing with the Sellafield site increased to £67.5 billion.[32][33][34] NMP management was forced to apologise after projected clean-up costs passed the £70 billion mark in late 2013.[35] In 2014, the final undiscounted decommissioning cost projection for Sellafield was increased to £79.1 billion,[36] and in 2015 to £117.4 billion.[28] The annual operating cost was projected to be £2 billion in 2016.[37] In 2018, it was revealed that the cost could be £121 billion by 2120.[5]

The cost does not include the costs for future geological disposal (GDF). These include research, design, construction, operation and closure. The undiscounted lifetime costs for a GDF were estimated £12.2 billion in 2008. The NDA’s share of this is £10.1 billion, which results in a discounted amount of about £3.4 billion.[2

A further Wikipedia article (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage ) discusses carbon capture and storage arising from the use of fossil fuels and associated costs. Whilst Scargill's fears concerning the closure of of productive and cost effective British pits have been realised, imports and of costly and greatly inferior coal in terms of pollution are continuing:


"Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) and CCS are sometimes discussed collectively as "carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration" (CCUS). This is because CCS is a relatively expensive process yielding a product which is often too cheap.[9] Hence, carbon capture makes economically more sense where the carbon price is high enough, such as in much of Europe,[5] or when combined with a utilization process where the cheap CO2 can be used to produce high-value chemicals to offset the high costs of capture operations.[10]

Storage of the CO2 is either in deep geological formations, or in the form of mineral carbonates. Pyrogenic carbon capture and storage (PyCCS) is also being researched.[11] Geological formations are currently considered the most promising sequestration sites. The US National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) reported that North America has enough storage capacity for more than 900 years worth of CO2 at current production rates.[12] A general problem is that long-term predictions about submarine or underground storage security are very difficult and uncertain, and there is still the risk that some CO2 might leak into the atmosphere.[13][14][15] Despite this, a recent evaluation estimates the risk of substantial leakage to be fairly low.[16][17][when?]"


Points mad by Scagill in 1998 were accepted then. They need to be re-evaluated in the context of today's realities.


Socialist Labour Party 19/7/2023










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