U.K.’s Cleanup of Sellafield Nuclear Site Too Slow, Panel Says

The U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority isn’t showing enough urgency in completing the cleanup of radioactive waste at its Sellafield facility in the north of England, a panel of lawmakers said.

“It is unclear how long it will take,” Margaret Hodge, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said in an e-mailed statement. “It is essential that the authority brings a real sense of urgency to its oversight of Sellafield so that the timetable for reducing risks does not slip further and costs do not continue to escalate.”

Hodge’s panel of lawmakers released a report today in which it said it’s “implausible” that the authority can’t speed up construction of an underground storage facility at the site for nuclear waste, which is currently slated to take another 27 years. The total cost of decommissioning Sellafield has now reached 67.5 billion pounds ($106 billion).

“Successive governments have failed to get to grips with this critical problem,” Hodge said. “A solution to the problem of long-term storage of the waste is as far away as ever.”

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