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Ensuring the Adequacy of Funding Arrangements for Decommissioning and Spent-Fuel Disposal
English, published: 06/18/21
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org
The world’s nuclear power reactors are ageing, with the majority approaching the end of their planned
operational lifetimes in the coming years. The adequacy of funding for decommissioning and radioactive
waste management (RMW) thus increasingly commands the attention of decision-makers.
This report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) combines a solid conceptual framework with the
insights from twelve case studies of NEA member countries to propose a new approach to the adequacy of
funding that is both robust and flexible.
Current funding systems in NEA countries are overall adequate. The challenges ahead however are
formidable: decommissioning and RWM are moving from design to implementation, returns on assets
are low and societal preferences can evolve. The very long-term nature of the solutions, in particular
for radioactive waste disposal, is also not easily compatible with the economic lifetimes of the original
liability holders.
This requires that all elements of the system – accrued funds, expected future returns, the lifetimes of
nuclear power plants, the expected costs of politically sustainable technical solutions and the liabilities
for residual risks – are reviewed and realigned at regular intervals. Complementing existing approaches
with such a circular approach will strengthen funding arrangements and ensure their adequacy for decades
to come.