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Energy Act 2008

Section 46: Approval of a programme

236.This section creates powers for approving a funded decommissioning programme and places certain duties on the Secretary of State before a programme can be approved or rejected. Subsection (1) provides that only the Secretary of State can approve or reject a programme. Subsection (2) gives the Secretary of State the power to require modifications to the programme or approve it subject to conditions. Subsection (3) allows obligations to be placed on bodies corporate associated with the operator, such as a parent company, by way of a modification of the programme under subsection (2) as part of the approval. Subsection (4) requires that the Secretary of State’s powers to approve or reject a programme must be exercised with the aim of securing that prudent provision is made for the technical matters (including prudent financial provision for the designated technical matters).

237.Subsections (5) and (6) require that before deciding whether to approve or reject a funded decommissioning programme the Secretary of State must consult the following bodies on those aspects of the programme, and of any modifications which it is proposed to make or conditions it is proposed to impose, which relate to their functions:

  • The Health and Safety Executive,

  • The Environment Agency, and

  • The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.

238.Subsection (7) requires that the operator and other persons who have obligations under the programme, or will have obligations following the proposed modification, be given the opportunity to make representations on any proposals to modify the programme or impose conditions made by the Secretary of State. Subsection (8) provides that, if the Secretary of State rejects a programme, the operator must be given reasons for the rejection. Subsection (9) requires the Secretary of State to act without unreasonable delay in reaching a decision as to whether to approve or reject a funded decommissioning programme.

239.Subsection (10) provides that a reference to a site operator in this section also refers to a person who has applied for a nuclear site licence in circumstances where the application has not yet been determined.

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