How is nuclear waste management to be financed?

Managing nuclear residual products is a commitment that extends over a very long time. The Debt Office is responsible for securing the financing of nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel. This is ultimately to protect future taxpayers.

Nuclear waste fee finances

Reactor owners and other licence holders are obligated under the Financing Act to provide for the future measures necessary to handle and dispose of nuclear residual products, the decommissioning and demolition of the plants and the research required to enable this. The 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.

It is the polluter who pays – not future taxpayers.

For this reason, these companies must pay annual nuclear waste fees and provide financial collateral to the Nuclear Waste Fund. The collateral is to cover the fees that have not yet been paid. Reactor owners must also provide additional collateral for costs that may arise as a result of unforeseen events. The fees and collateral are fixed in three-year cycles.

Fees are paid by the reactor owners and other licence holders. The fees are calculated and levied in relation to the energy supplied. The fee can also be determined as an amount in SEK, for example for a licence holder who no longer supplies nuclear energy.

The Debt Office shall propose the levels of the nuclear waste fees and the collateral to be provided by the reactor companies, which the Government then decides on before each fee period. The current period covers the years 2018–2020. For licence holders that are not reactor owners, the decision is made by the Debt Office.

Table 1. Nuclear Waste fees 2018-2020, credit risk and supplementary amounts and collateral for permit holders with nuclear reactors
Permit holders with nuclear reactorsNuclear waste feesCredit risk amount (SEK million)Risk margin (SEK million)Pledged collateral (SEK million)¹
Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB  3,3 öre/kWh  8 528  4 729  13 257
OKG AB (Oskarshamn)  6,4 öre/kWh  8 771  3 448 12 219
Ringhals AB  5,2 öre/kWh  10 264  4 922  15 186
Barsebäck Kraft AB (BKAB)   543 SEK million per year  1 591  2 019  3 610

¹ Existing pledged collateral relates to both credit risk and supplementary amounts.

Table 2. Nuclear waste fees, credit risk amounts and pledged collateral for permit holders without nuclear reactors
Permit holdersNuclear waste fee 2020-2022 (SEK thousand)Credit risk amount (SEK thousand)Pledged collateral1 (SEK thousand)
AB Svafo2 204 034 603 034 0
Vattenfall AB (regarding Ågesta)  0  0 0
Ranstad Industricentrum AB  0  0
Ranstad Mineral AB  0  0 0
Studsvik Nuclear AB 8 557 171 577 27 562
Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB 3 957 94 623 79 493
Cyclife Sweden AB 2 896 67 789 59 550
Chalmers University of Technology 71 1 857 2 599
 Total 219 515 938 880 169 204

1 Pledged collateral refers to credit risk amounts for earlier fee periods. Work with collateral for the fee period 2020–2022 is in progress.

2 AB Svafo has appealed the Debt Office’s decision on the nuclear waste fee for the years 2020–2022, and credit risk amount, to the Government.

Disbursements from the Nuclear Waste Fund

The proceeds in the Nuclear Waste Fund amounted to SEK 69.6 billion at the end of 2018. The Debt Office decides on disbursement and application. Funded fees may be used by the payer to finance costs incurred in calculating the fees. The funds may also be used to cover certain costs of research and development, supervision by governmental authorities, examination of issues, management of funds, support for municipalities, etc.

Table 3. Disbursed 2018 and applied amount of payments from the Nuclear Waste Fund to recipients and other stakeholders in 2019, SEK million 
 RecipientDisbursed 2018Applied 2019
SKB, Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (permit holders with nuclear reactors run incremental cost)  1 512,0  1 660,9
OKG AB   369,1  407,5
Barsebäck Kraft AB   198,1  263,4
AB Svafo  151,5  131,6
Ringhals AB  50,7  85,0
Vattenfall AB (regarding Ågesta)  42,4  98,7
Ranstad Industricentrum AB  15,9  3,2
Studsvik Nuclear AB  8,2  8,6
Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB  4,1  0,0
Uppsala University  0,8  0,8
Cyclife Sweden AB  0,0  2,1
Oskarshamns kommun  3,7  2,4
Östhammars kommun  7,1  7,0
Regionförbundet Kalmar län  0,8  0,5
 Sum  2 364,4  2 671,7

The Nuclear Waste Fund is managed in two portfolios.

  • Base portfolio: interest-bearing account at the Debt Office, debt instruments issued by the government, bonds, etc.
  • Long-term portfolio: Swedish and global shares, as well as corporate bonds and various derivatives for the purpose of reducing risks.

The actual return

The actual return, over the five-year period 2014–2018, averaged 2.66 percent per year.

The actual return, over the five-year period 2014–2018, averaged 2.66 percent per year.

Financial sustainability of the collateral

When the nuclear companies propose financial collateral to cover the fees not yet paid, and for the costs that may arise from unplanned events, it is the responsibility of the Debt Office to assess the value of the proposed collateral. The Debt Office then presents the results of the assessment to the Government. For reactor owners, the collateral consists of guarantees by the owners of the nuclear power companies (parent company guarantee).