9 Oct (NucNet): The European Commission has approved the UK pricing methodology for waste transfer contracts, saying it is compatible with EU state aid rules. The methodology establishes the price that operators of new nuclear stations in the UK will have to pay for the underground disposal of their spent fuel and intermediate-level waste in a planned UK geological disposal site, the EC said in a statement. It aims at ensuring that it will be the nuclear power operators – and not taxpayers – who bear the cost of disposing of their nuclear waste and that they set aside sufficient funds to cover their future liabilities. The EC said the methodology will establish a waste transfer price that reflects actual disposal costs. It will be determined only when most of the “currently unknown cost factors” of the disposal facility have become clear, around 30 years after the start of electricity generation by the nuclear power operator. Given the uncertainties at this stage concerning the waste transfer price, the UK considered it necessary to set a price cap, to provide some visibility of future liabilities to secure investors and financing. The EC said it had concluded that the actual disposal costs are very unlikely to exceed the cap level. The EC said the UK government intends to build a geological facility for the disposal of spent fuel and intermediate level waste from existing and new nuclear power stations. The facility is expected to start operating around 2040.