You know you have a problem when you have to start selling off your nuclear assets to pay the cleanup costs for your nuclear assets, all while acquiring new nuclear assets.

It may seem odd, but that’s just what the British government is doing. Thursday night, assets from Britain’s nuclear power stations were made available to the private sector in an effort to raise £72 billion ($144 billion) for nuclear waste cleanup costs.

The UK has some of the oldest nuclear sites in the world, with 14 having already been closed and partially decommissioned. Just like every other environmental project undertaken by the British government the cleanup of these sites is behind schedule and over budget, to the tune of £300 million ($600 million) for 2006 alone.

What’s an enterprising government to do? Sell off the nuclear processing plants that caused the problems to begin with of course!

The government plans to offload several plants to the highest bidder. According to The Ecologist:

“The sale could include fuel reprocessing plants such as Thorp and the Sellafield Mox Plant – as well as the fuel manufacturing facility at Springfields in Lancashire. Thorp suffered an accident three years ago and has been largely out of action since. Malcolm Wicks, energy minister, recently admitted that the Sellafield Mox plant has produced barely five tonnes of fuel since 2002.”