SKB revises cost of Swedish nuclear waste programme

03 October 2022

According to the latest estimate submitted by Sweden's radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB), the remaining costs for the country's radioactive waste programme total SEK124.1 billion (USD11.13 billion). The previous estimate, submitted in 2019, was SEK110.0 billion.

The underground Clab used fuel interim storage facility (Image: Curt-Robert Lindqvist/SKB)

The licensees of Swedish nuclear power plants take responsibility for all costs for the Swedish nuclear waste programme, which includes decommissioning and demolition of the power plants, as well as the handling and final disposal of the nuclear waste and used nuclear fuel.

Under Swedish regulations, SKB - on behalf of the country's nuclear power companies - must submit the estimated future costs to the National Debt Office at three-year intervals. The National Debt Office has the overall responsibility to ensure the payment liability of the nuclear industry and to monitor the proper functioning of the financing system.

SKB noted that since the last cost estimate, submitted in 2019, several important milestones have been reached that are of "great importance" to its operations. The government has approved a final repository for used nuclear fuel as well as the expansion of the existing SFR repository for low and intermediate-level waste.

"After the positive government decisions, there are more concrete conditions and time frames for the remaining work," said SKB's head of communications Anna Porelius. "This is reflected in the new cost estimate. On the other hand, the government decisions took longer than expected in previous forecasts and the shift in the timetables as a whole is also reflected in the new planning calculation."

In addition, the remaining steps in the continued permitting process have been taken, which further postpones the scheduling in its entirety, SKB said. The commissioning of the nuclear fuel storage facility and the encapsulation facility has been postponed and is something that has consequences for other operations as well.

"The combined result of this year's calculation work therefore gives a remaining basic cost of SEK124.1 billion (costs from and including 2024, price level January 2022) for the Swedish nuclear waste programme," SKB said. "The corresponding amount in the calculation from 2019 is SEK110.0 billion (costs from and including 2021 at the January 2021 price level)."

The National Debt Office will examine the submitted material, which then forms the basis for which fees the nuclear power companies must pay into the Nuclear Waste Fund. It is the government that decides on the level of the fees as well as on the collateral that the licence holders issue. At the end of August, there were SEK73 billion in the Nuclear Waste Fund. The remaining funding is partly covered by continued payments to the fund from the nuclear power companies, and partly by future returns from the fund.

SKB noted that so far some SEK64 billion has already been invested in research and development, as well as the construction and operation of the Clab central intermediate storage for used nuclear fuel, the SFR repository and SKB's transport system.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News