NLF to pay for building of new Dry Store at Sizewell B
On 14 January 2013, EDF Energy (‘EDFE’) announced that it had begun work on a new dry store for spent fuel at Sizewell B nuclear power station. Sizewell B is the UK’s only pressurized water reactor (PWR). The purpose of bringing forward the building of the dry store by some years is to ensure the continuing operation of Sizewell B station. The PWR dry store will be the first such facility in the UK.
All the spent fuel from Sizewell B’s reactor since it began producing electricity in 1995 is stored under water in a fuel storage/cooling pond. However, this is expected to reach capacity in 2015. The new dry fuel store will provide additional capacity for Sizewell B’s spent fuel from 2015 for the lifetime of the power station or until a deep geological disposal facility is available. The earliest discharged fuel will be transferred to the dry store via special containers. This will allow newly discharged fuel to be loaded into the vacated storage/cooling pond space.
Currently, EDFE has responsibility for managing and funding Sizewell B spent fuel, but costs arising beyond the current station pond storage regime are a ‘qualifying liability’ funded by the NLF, as is the cost of construction of the new dry store. Accordingly the construction and lifecycle costs will be paid by the NLF.
This is the first major project funded by the NLF.
Notes for editors -
*Costs qualify for payment in the terms of the Nuclear Liabilities Funding Agreement (NLFA) dated 14 January 2005. The NLFA provides that the NLF shall pay for the discharge of agreed nuclear liabilities of EDFE which include certain contracted and un-contracted decommissioning and waste management costs (together called the ‘qualifying liabilities’).
Planning permission for the dry store was granted by the then Energy Minster Charles Hendry in July 2011. When planning permission was granted, it was subject to a number of planning conditions which had to be met before work could begin. These conditions were met and Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Planning Committee gave the final go-ahead for the dry store at its meeting on Wednesday, 12 September 2012.