The United Kingdom may pay more than $370 billion for atomic cleanup efforts expected to continue beyond the year 2130, the London Telegraph reports.
The figure marked the upper limit of a range of possible remediation costs set on Monday in a yearly assessment by the British Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
The effort's "estimated overall lifetime cost" now stands at $186.8 billion, an $11.2 billion increase over last year. The office attributed the change in part to rising cost estimates for cleanup activities at the Sellafield atomic energy plant in Cumbria.
"The NDA is required by U.K. accounting standards to provide a single figure," the document states. However, "even a small adjustment for changing confidence levels can add up to a significant number over a 100-plus year program."
"When added together, the consequence of using ranges of estimates to reflect uncertainty is that potential costs could, for the whole mission, be somewhere between [$149.6] billion and [$370.2] billion," the agency said in its findings.
Significant questions over how to deal with nuclear waste persist in a number of other countries, including the United States and Japan.