Nuclear Waste Management
What do the costs include?
The scope of work to be considered when dealing with spent fuel management includes:
- The removal of fuel from the reactor after it has reached the end of its useful life
- Its transport to a storage facility on the reactor site for cooling
- The storage of the fuel in an appropriate facility such as a storage pond or underground formation, prior to packaging
- The ultimate disposal of the spent fuel.
Spent fuel management costs, plant decommissioning and waste disposal costs (particularly for HLW) are characterised by their long-term nature. According to the UK Nuclear Industry Association, charging consumers around 0.1p/kWh is enough to finance these costs. These funds are normally paid into an account overseen and regulated by stakeholders and the national government, or held as provisions by the reactor operator. Other options include insurance and prepayment arrangements where funds are deposited, for future use, prior to plant operation.
Great progress has been made by the nuclear power industry to address public concerns about the costs and reliability of waste management. As more information on nuclear waste disposal becomes available, WEC will provide further insights.