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Energy Act 2008

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Section 52: Provision of information and documents

257.This section sets out the Secretary of State’s powers to obtain information from the site operator and other persons with obligations under a funded decommissioning programme, and in certain circumstances, from bodies corporate associated with the site operator. The two circumstances in which the Secretary of State can require information and documentation are:

  • after a funded decommissioning programme has been submitted, but prior to approval (Condition A), or

  • when a modification, which is subject to the standard approval processes as set out in section 48, has been proposed but the Secretary of State has not yet decided whether the modification should be made (Condition B).

258.Subsections (4) and (6) set out the procedure the Secretary of State must follow when requesting information or documents from the site operator or person with obligations under the programme. The Secretary of State must specify when the documents or information are to be made available and the form in which information is required.

259.Subsection (5) provides that the Secretary of State may obtain information from the site operator and any other person with obligations under the programme. In addition, in a case where Condition A applies, the Secretary of State may obtain information from any body corporate associated with the site operator, if the Secretary of State is considering imposing an obligation on the body, by way of a modification of the programme, at the time he approves it under section 46. In a case where Condition B applies, the Secretary of State may obtain information from a person who would have obligations if the proposed modification were made.

260.Subsection (7) provides that the Secretary of State can only request such information and documents which he considers necessary for the purposes of making a decision in relation to a case which falls within Condition A or B.

261.Subsections (8) and (9) allow the Secretary of State to apply to the High Court for a court order where a person has failed to comply with the Secretary of State’s request. If the application is successful, the court may order a person to comply with the requirement. Subsection (10) provides that references to a site operator in this section also refer to a person who has applied for a nuclear site licence where the application has not yet been determined.

Section 53: Power to review operation of programme

262.This section gives the Secretary of State the power to review an approved funded programme and, as part of this, to request information about the programme from the site operator or any other person who has obligations under the programme. The power can be used at any stage in the programme’s life, including any period up until the point at which the site is returned to the agreed end state and the waste disposed of as defined by the decommissioning programme. The power is only applicable to information relevant to a particular site.

263.Subsection (3) provides that the Secretary of State may only request information for the purpose of determining whether:

  • the programme is being complied with;

  • it will be possible for the persons with obligations under the programme at a point in the future to comply with them;

  • the programme makes prudent provision for the technical matters (including the financing of the designated technical matters) (as defined in section 45).

264.Subsection (5) authorises the Secretary of State to require information from the site operator, any other person with obligations under an approved programme or a body corporate associated with the site operator, for the purpose of enabling the Secretary of State to decide whether to propose a modification under section 48 or the nature of any modification to be proposed. The information can be required if the Secretary of State has reason to believe that:

  • the programme is not being complied with

  • it will not be possible for obligations under the programme arising at a future date to be complied with

  • the programme does not make prudent provision for the matters mentioned in subsection (3)(c).

265.Subsection (6) allows the Secretary of State to charge a fee to the site operator for the costs incurred in obtaining advice in relation to the information obtained. Subsection (7) provides the fee must be paid at the time determined in regulations under section 54.

266.Subsections (8) and (9) allow the Secretary of State to apply to the High Court for a court order where a person has failed to comply with the Secretary of State’s request. If the application is successful the court may order a person to comply with the requirement.

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