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Energy Act 2008

Section 45: Duty to submit a funded decommissioning programme

231.This section requires a person applying for a nuclear site licence, for a site where they intend to construct or operate a new nuclear power station (that is a nuclear power station constructed after commencement of this section), to notify the Secretary of State and submit a funded decommissioning programme for approval. It also requires a person to submit a funded decommissioning programme for approval if they intend to operate a new nuclear power station to which this section previously applied. The effect of this provision is to ensure that when a site operator changes after the site has been constructed and the power station is operating, the new site operator will be required to submit a funded decommissioning programme. Subsection (4) explains that a “funded decommissioning programme” is a programme which makes provision for certain technical matters (for example, the activities involved in decommissioning a relevant nuclear power station) and provision for how certain of those technical matters (“the designated technical matters”) are to be financed.

232.Subsection (5) specifies what the technical matters are, namely:

  • how hazardous material (which includes radioactive waste) will be treated, stored, transported and disposed of during the operation of the power station,

  • how the power station will be decommissioned at the end of its life,

  • how the site is to be cleaned up, and

  • any activities by way of preparation for decommissioning and clean-up.

233.Subsection (6) gives the Secretary of State the power to prescribe by order (subject to the affirmative resolution procedure – see section 105) which of the matters referred to in the first or fourth bullet above are designated technical matters, which by operation of subsection (4) means the matters which are required to be financed by the programme. By contrast, the decommissioning and clean-up of power stations and sites must always be financed by the programme.

234.Subsection (7) says that a funded decommissioning programme must contain:

  • details of the steps to be taken in relation to the technical matters described in subsection (5)

  • estimates of the likely costs incurred carrying out the designated technical matters described in subsection (6)

  • details of how financial security will be provided in relation to those costs.

235.Subsections (8) and (9) allow the Secretary of State to charge a person who submits a programme a fee for any costs incurred by the Secretary of State in relation to the consideration of the programme, and in particular the costs of obtaining advice in relation to the programme or information required in relation to the programme under section 52(4). Regulations made under section 54 will allow the Secretary of State to set out how that fee is to be calculated and when it is to be paid.

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