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 2021, credit risk and risk magins 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)
Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB  3,0 öre/kWh  6 587  4 729  11 316
OKG AB (Oskarshamn)  5,6 öre/kWh  6 949  3 448 10 397
Ringhals AB  4,7 öre/kWh  7 034  4 922 11 956
Barsebäck Kraft AB (BKAB)  SEK million per year  0  2 019  2 019

 

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 collateral(SEK thousand)
AB Svafo 102 017 603 034 603 034
Vattenfall AB (regarding Ågesta)  0  0 0
Ranstad Industricentrum AB  0  0
Ranstad Mineral AB  0  0 0
Studsvik Nuclear AB 8 557 171 577 171 577
Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB 3 957 94 623 94 623
Cyclife Sweden AB 2 896 67 789 67 789
Chalmers University of Technology 71 1 857 1 857
 Total 117 498 938 880 938 880

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 2019 and 2020 and applied amount of payments from the Nuclear Waste Fund to recipients and other stakeholders in 2021, SEK million 
 RecipientDisbursed 2019Disbursed 2020Applied 2021
SKB, Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company   1 307,5 1 480,4  1 757,4
Barsebäck Kraft AB  264,0 444,9 505,6
OKG AB  366,5 450,9 466,9
Ringhals AB 58,1 116,0 303,0
AB Svafo 124,3 179,5 164,0
Vattenfall AB (regarding Ågesta) 33,0 92,0 133,0
Studsvik Nuclear AB 8,6 8,6 10,8
Östhammars kommun 2,8 6,5 5,6
Oskarhamns kommun 0,9 1,9 2,0
Ranstads industricentrum AB (RIC) 0,0 3,5 1,5
Cyclife Sweden AB 1,1 1,1 1,1
Region Kalmar län 0,1 0,5 0,3
Länsstyrelsen Västra götalands län 0,0 0,2 0,2
Uppsala universitet 0,7 0,0 0,0
Sum 2 167,7 2 786,0 3 351,4

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 2016–2020, averaged 2.04 percent per year.

 Financial sustainability of the collateral

When the nuclear companies propose financial collateral to cover the fees not yet paid, and so that the liabilities can be completed with a high probability, 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).