Taxpayers will pick up the bill should the cost of storing radioactive waste produced by Britain’s newest nuclear power station soar, according to confidential documents which the government has battled to keep secret for more than a year.
The papers confirm the steps the government took to reassure French energy firm EDF and Chinese investors behind the £24bn Hinkley Point C plant that the amount they would have to pay for the storage would be capped.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – in its previous incarnation as the Department for Energy and Climate Change – resisted repeated requests under the Freedom of Information Act for the release of the documents which were submitted to the European commission.
“The government has attempted to keep the costs to the taxpayer of Hinkley under wraps from the start,” said Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace chief scientist. “It’s hardly surprising as it doesn’t look good for the government’s claim that they are trying to keep costs down for hardworking families.”