Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in Switzerland

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Switzerland

  • June 2, 2020
  • 4:18 pm

Highlights

1,377 tHM spent nuclear fuel in storage (2016)
2,216 tHM spent nuclear fuel projected by 2050
1972 First year of commercial nuclear operation
4 operating nuclear power reactors
1 operating research reactors
3.1 GW(e) installed nuclear capacity (2017)
37.73% nuclear share of domestic energy production (2018)

Regulator: The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate
Power Operators: German Kraftwerk Union AG, Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG, Axpo AG, BKW FMB Energie AG

Nuclear Power stations in Switzerland (as of 2019)

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Practices

  • Prior to the 2003-2020 moratorium on reprocessing, some operators made contracts with French and British companies to reprocess approximately 1,200 metric tons fuel to be returned and reused in domestic plants
  • SNF is currently stored first wet onsite before transferred to wet or dry storage at independent interim facilities (two dry, one wet)
  • The process for DGR site selection by the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) is ongoing and a Parliamentary approval of the license is expected in approximately 2030
  • Public consultation and referenda are to be solicited throughout the process
  • NAGRA and the Paul Scherrer Institute also work on radionuclide research for waste management and Switzerland has international initiatives to research DGR siting

Obligations

  • Switzerland’s safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/264) entered into force in 1978 and the additional protocol in 2005
  • Switzerland signed the Joint Convention in 1997 and ratified in 2000
  • NPP operators are responsible for fuel cycle management under the 2003 Nuclear Energy Act and 2004 Nuclear Energy Ordinance and operate with a “polluter-pays” policy
  • Future reprocessing is prohibited under the Energy Strategy 2050 and so spent fuel policy includes final disposal
  • Swiss spent fuel cannot be disposed of in another country’s DGR
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