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IT IS hard to see how the UK’s projected future electricity demand and energy security can be met without an element of new nuclear power to replace some of the existing nuclear stations as they come to the end of their lives.
In considering the recently published figures for the Sellafield clean-up, it is worth remembering that a large proportion of the costs have arisen as a result of the early military programmes which were conceived and undertaken under considerable time pressure and under the dark shadow of the nuclear arms race – and at a time when facilities were designed without decommissioning in mind and when future waste management was not accorded the priority it now is.
If new civil nuclear electricity generating capacity is commissioned in the UK, waste management and end-of-life decommissioning will be taken properly into account from the start, and so will be proportionately less expensive to deal with than the historic legacy of the early days of the UK’s military programmes.
Dr Simon Harrison, Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London.