Comparison different decommissioning funds methodologies for nuclear installations
|Author||Wuppertal Institute, Antony Froggatt, Irrek|
From the publication:
Executive Summary The European Commission estimates that approximately one third of the 145 power reactors currently operating in the European Union will need to be shut down by 2025. This will result in the need to dismantle, decontaminate and demolish these nuclear facilities as well as to undertake processing, conditioning and disposal of nuclear waste and spent fuel (‘decommissioning’). It is of paramount importance that the funding of these decommissioning activities will be adequate and available when needed in order to avoid negatively affecting the safety of EU citizens. Nuclear operators are ex- pected to accumulate all the necessary funds during the operating life of facilities. Member States oversee different regimes for estimating, collecting and managing de- commissioning costs and there are significant differences in the operation, governance, investment and accessibility of the existing funds across the EU. This report has undertaken an assessment of the different regimes and noted the fol- lowing: • The Polluter pays principle for decommissioning is widely accepted and needs to be the fundamental basis of the granting an operating license, as occurs in Finland and Sweden. • The discussions on decommissioning funds have focused on nuclear power plants. Decommissioning of other facilities must not be overlooked, in particular for high cost facilities, such as reprocessing plants or facilities having experienced incidents or accidents. • Costs estimates are subject to high degree of risks and uncertainties; expected costs have risen significantly in a number of countries while many estimates still contain a considerable range of possible costs. • Differences in reported cost estimates occur due to varying discounting mecha- nisms and the timing of dismantling. • Not all Member States require that funds be managed externally and segregated from the operator. • A number of Member States seem to be moving towards the increased restric- tion of funds. This development might be further accelerated by pressure from the financial markets (analysts and auditors) • In most countries there are only limited rights for the public to access information on decommissioning costs and funds. • Many operating companies and governments are satisfied with the current situa- tion and have concerns towards an EU harmonization process of nuclear de- commissioning financing.