Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in Switzerland

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Switzerland

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)

Regulators: The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (safety and security), Swiss Federal Office of Energy (safeguards)
Power Operators: Kernkraftwerk Gösgen-Däniken 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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