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UK nuclear waste cleanup costs rise 2 bln stg

UK nuclear waste cleanup costs rise 2 bln stg
LONDON - Britain\'s state owned nuclear fuels and waste company BNFL yesterday revised its estimate of the costs of dealing with nuclear waste, adding about 2.0 billion pounds ($3.0 billion) to estimated future cleanup costs.
In its annual results, BNFL said it would take a 2.35 billion pound exceptional charges - ballooning its loss for the year to March 2002 to 2.328 billion pounds from 66 million a year earlier. The charges include a 1.935 billion hit to account for the assumption that it will have to store rather than recycle nuclear waste in future - adding to Britain\'s nuclear legacy bill for the next 100 years. The charge will be added to the 45-plus billion pounds of undiscounted liabilities already facing the Liabilities Management Authority (LMA) - a body being set up by the government to manage commercial and military liabilities. The move is seen as a precursor to a possible privatisation of BNFL. Chairman Hugh Collum said yesterday that the government would be reviewing the possibility of privatising the industry in 2004-2005. BNFL is the rump of Britain\'s state nuclear power industry, comprising its fuel and waste operations and its older nuclear reactors. The rest of it was privatised in 1996 as British Energy Plc . BNFL is embroiled in an international row with environmentalist groups over a ship that is currently carrying rejected nuclear fuel back from Japan to the UK. Greenpeace wanted to stop the ship from sailing on the grounds that it posed a security and environmental threat, but BNFL has said it is safe. The operation is costing BNFL 114 million pounds. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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