It is expected that the UK government will reveal figures that show the cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants in the UK has increased significantly from previous estimates.

At a time when prime minister Tony Blair is believed to be favoring commissioning a fleet of new nuclear power plants to ease Britain’s energy problems, UK media outlets have speculated that the government is poised to reveal an alarming GBP9 billion increase in the clean up bill for decommissioned nuclear power sites.

According to reports, the UK government will announce on March 30 that the cost of decommissioning the country’s aging nuclear power plants will be in fact GBP65 billion, GBP9 billion more than previously expected.

In explaining the concerning development, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said that more radioactive waste than expected had been found at the Sellafield site in Cumbria.

On the positive side, the revelation that there is more to clean up than previously thought is likely to boost the sale price for British Nuclear Group, which chancellor Gordon Brown hinted in his budget speech would be sold. The government asset is expected to fetch around GBP1 billion with Amec, Serco and Carillion believed to be potential buyers.