Our owners finance our expenditure
The nuclear power companies pay a surcharge of between SEK 0.03 and SEK 0.06 for every kilowatt hour produced to a government fund, the Nuclear Waste Fund. This money is used to deal with spent nuclear fuel and to pay for decommissioning the Swedish nuclear power plants. SKB’s operations are mainly paid for with money from this fund.
According to Swedish law it is the owners of the nuclear power plants that have to pay for all the costs for dealing with spent nuclear fuel and its final disposal. They also have to pay the costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations.
Since the mid-1970s the nuclear power companies have been allocating funds to cover these costs. These funds are administered by the Nuclear Waste Fund. In addition to the fees paid by the owners, they also provide financial guaranties for fees not yet paid into the fund and for unforeseen events. The guaranties amount to a total of approximately SEK 59 billions.
SKB makes regular calculations of the future costs for dealing with nuclear waste. These are submitted to the Swedish National Debt Office every three years. After they have been reviewed the Authority then proposes the surcharge for the next few years to the Government, which decides on the amount to be charged. During 2022-2023 the fees are approximately SEK 0.04 for every kilowatt hour.
Even after all reactors on a site are permanently shut down, the nuclear companies are under Swedish law still required to pay a charge.
The Nuclear Waste Fund mainly invests its money in Government Bonds or “Covered Bonds”. A smaller amount is deposited in an interest bearing account with the Swedish National Debt Office. Since 2018 funds can also be invested in stocks, corporate bonds, shares in investment funds av derivatives.
SEK 64 billion has been used
The latest calculation of the future costs was submitted to the Swedish National Debt Office on September 30, 2022. According to this the total costs of the Swedish nuclear waste programme, from start to finish, will amount to about SEK 171 billion.
Of this amount about SEK 64 billion has already been used to build and operate the existing plants and for research and development on the Swedish nuclear waste system and its construction. The remaining SEK 107 billion relates to future costs from 2024 and onwards.
At the end of 2021 the Nuclear Waste Fund administered SEK 80 billion. But the fund is continually being augmented, both through the continued surcharge payments as well as the yield on its investments. The amount that will have to be paid into the fund in the future will of course depend on future returns on its investments.