Economic aspects of radioactive waste management

Since radioactive waste management is a long-term issue, costs and availability of funding is a challenge. Costs make a difference depending on which waste disposal method to choose, while available options are replaced by new technologies from time to time. Multi-generational time frames create problems with funding stability, and prolonged delays in making and implementing decisions can increase costs. Therefore, the overall financing strategy based on reliable cost analysis of various waste management options is required for the success of any nuclear energy project.

Publications and reports
NEA work on this topic

The NEA identified the economic aspects of radioactive waste management as a key issue decades ago and conducted studies on the cost of high-level radioactive waste repositories and low-level radioactive waste, respectively. Reported cost estimates by member countries were reviewed internationally to provide a better understanding of the origins of the variations in the cost estimates, and to discuss to which extent the technical, political, societal and economic factors could explain the variations.

The work continues under the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC)  and will be developed further in co-operation with the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) .