Sunday 22 May 2022

Updating and cleaning up Dutch nuclear industry could cost state €400m

Photo: A Nagel via Wikimedia Commons

Updating the Netherlands nuclear industry could cost the state up to €400m, according to a review by four senior civil servants and quoted in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

Officials from the economic affairs, health, environment and finance ministries were asked to assess the cost of the clean-up and update by previous health minister Edith Schippers.

They say the biggest financial hit will come from demolishing the Dodewaard nuclear power station which was shut down in 1997. The government has insisted until now that the bill is paid by the power station’s shareholders, which include Vattenfall, the Volkskrant points out.

However, the report indicates civil servants now assume the shareholders will default and put the cost of that project to the state at up to €200m.

A further €100m will be needed to deal with nuclear waste created at the Petten reactor – which makes medical isotopes. That waste is currently stored above ground near the Borselle nuclear power station and the state has paid €200m towards disposing of Petten’s waste over the past 20 years, the report says.

In addition, the officials say that a ‘rough estimate’ of €60m to €100m will be needed to build a new reactor at Petten – another issue which the state has always assumed will be privately funded.

Confidential

The Volkskrant says the report is notable because it is virtually identical to one sent to parliament in July, although that report did not contain the financial details. At the time, a finance ministry spokesman told the paper the figures were confidential.

However, the paper has now been published on the website containing all the documents used during the formation of the current government and was spotted by anti-nuclear power group Laka.

Laka spokesman Dirk Bannink said the report shows that the nuclear industry cannot exist without state support. ‘The government has to step in every time,’ he said.

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