The estimated cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria has risen by almost £2.5bn in a year, a report has said.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said clean-up costs at the complex had risen from £67.5bn in 2013 to an “astonishing” £70bn.
The report said progress had been “poor” and targets had been missed.
The consortium in charge of the clean-up said the challenges at Sellafield had been “unprecedented”.
The report said the consortium had been brought in six years ago to help Sellafield improve its performance and had its contract extended last October despite “spiralling costs and poor performance”.
Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said: “Cleaning up the nuclear waste on this hazardous site is estimated to cost more than £70bn in cash terms. What’s worse is that the cost is likely to continue to rise.
“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns Sellafield and which appointed NMP, said itself that it did not expect NMP to meet its savings target for the first five years – despite NMP being on course to earn £230m for the job.
“Timescales have slipped and reprocessing targets have been missed. NMP has failed to provide the clear leadership, strong management and improved capabilities for the job.”
“We have had extensive discussions with NMP and made clear where these improvements must be made.”
NMP chairman Tom Zarges said the challenges at Sellafield were “unprecedented, with complexities exceeding any other operational or decommissioning nuclear site in the world”, which needed “extraordinary technology and skills”.
“The first term of our contract has been characterised by many successes, but also a number of disappointments and areas for improvement.