National Policies and Funding

This is a compendium of radioactive waste management policies in different countries, and how they are funded. Policies change from time to time and the accounts detailed in individual country papers may be more up-to-date than within this document.


There are no civil nuclear power reactors in Australia. The HIFAR research reactor at Lucas Heights, near Sydney, was replaced in 2007 by the OPAL reactor on the same site, operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Australia's policy is to reprocess spent fuel from its research reactors, with the exception of US-origin fuel, which has all been returned to the USA. The waste arising from the reprocessing of the non-US spent fuel overseas will be returned to Australia for storage and, ultimately, disposed of as intermediate-level waste (ILW).

Disposal status

Since the late 1970s there has been an evolving process of site selection for a national radioactive waste repository for low-level waste (LLW) and short-lived ILW. This will be a shallow, engineered pit with multi-layered cover. A secure above-ground storage facility for long-lived ILW, including that which will be returned to Australia following the reprocessing of ANSTO's research reactor used fuel, will be co-located.

In May 2016 the South Australian (SA) government's royal commission on the nuclear fuel cycle reported. Its main recommendation was for an international high-level waste (HLW) repository in the state on a commercial basis, though this was not accepted. The government would "remain open to pursuing this opportunity for SA" eventually.

Waste management facilities

ANSTO has storage facilities onsite for its operational waste and for spent fuel. The Queensland State Government has a purpose-built, above-ground store at Esk, near Brisbane, for LLW and short- and long-lived ILW generated in Queensland. The Western Australian (WA) government operates a near-surface disposal facility for intractable waste generated in WA, including LLW and short-lived ILW, at Mount Walton East, about 480 km northeast of Perth.

Responsible agencies

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Regulator: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Responsibility for radioactive waste disposal: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.


Half of Belgium's electricity production comes from its seven nuclear power reactors (about 5.9 GWe capacity). The country also has two research reactors operated by the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN).

Following the cessation of new reprocessing contracts by the government in 1994, the country has adopted a strategy of direct disposal.

Disposal status

Surface repository concepts considered for LLW; sites considered at existing nuclear facilities (Doel, Mol-Dessel and Tihange).

Deep geological disposal studies are underway for ILW and HLW/used fuel and are focused on the clays at Mol. In 1980, construction of the High Activity Disposal Experiment Site (HADES) underground research laboratory, 225 m deep in the Boom clay, commenced. No disposal site for HLW has been identified, but construction could begin about 2035.

In 2016 Synatom contracted with Germany’s Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH (GNS) to provide 30 CASTOR casks from 2021 for transport and storage of used fuel at Doel and Tihange.

Waste management facilities

LLW/ILW storage at Belgoprocess, Dessel, with cAt project (category A waste, i.e. low-level waste and short-lived ILW) licensed for disposal from 2022.

Spent fuel stored onsite at the nuclear power plants.

Vitrified HLW from former reprocessing stored at Belgoprocess, Dessel.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK.CEN); Belgoprocess.

Regulator: Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Belgian Agency for Management of Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials (ONDRAF/NIRAS).


  • Payments are made into an internal fund managed by the utility.
  • Provisions are discounted, currently at a rate of 8.6%.
  • Utilities also pay a levy on each kWh of electricity sold, which goes into a decommissioning and waste management fund, managed by the fuel cycle company Synatom.


About 3% of Brazil’s electricity production comes from its 2 operating nuclear power reactors (about 1.9 GWe capacity). The country has a third reactor under construction. It has yet to decide on whether to adopt a policy of reprocessing or direct disposal.

Disposal status

Used fuel is stored. At present, it is not considered a waste.

LLW and ILW are stored onsite at Angra. Legislation in 2001 provides the framework for LLW and ILW repository site selection, construction and operation. A long-term solution for these is to be in place before Angra 3 is commissioned.

Waste management facilities

Temporary onsite facilities are at Angra.

Responsible agencies

The National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) is responsible for the management and disposal of radioactive waste.


About 33% of Bulgaria’s electricity production comes from its 2 operating nuclear power reactors (about 2.0 GWe capacity). It has yet to decide on whether to adopt a policy of reprocessing or direct disposal.

Disposal status

Under a 2002 agreement, Bulgaria was formerly paying Russia $ 620,000 per tonne for the repatriation of used nuclear fuel. The majority of fuel has been reprocessed in the Mayak plant at Ozersk, with the balance being sent to the Zheleznogorsk plant at Krasnoyarsk. Repatriation of used fuel has ceased.

There are no plans for HLW disposal.

Waste management facilities

Used fuel is initially stored in pools at each reactor. In 1990 a central pool-type storage facility was constructed at Kozloduy to take fuel from all the units. This was upgraded and a new licence issued in 2001.

A €49 million dry storage facility with a capacity of 5200 fuel assemblies in 72 casks was opened in May 2011 at Kozloduy, with finance from the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It will hold the fuel from the four closed reactors. Later expansion to hold 8000 VVER-440 and 2500 VVER-1000 assemblies is envisaged.

The National Disposal Facility for Low- and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste (NDF) started construction in August 2017 at the Radiana site, located within the 2 km protected zone of the Kozloduy nuclear plant. Built as a near-surface facility in modules, it is envisaged that it will ultimately reach a capacity of 345,000 tonnes, accept waste for 60 years after it is opened, and store waste for some 300 years. It is being paid for by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund. A LLW and ILW treatment and storage facility is also at Kozloduy.

Responsible agencies

State Enterprise Radioactive Waste (SE-RAW) is responsible for waste management.

Licensing is by the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA).


  • An electricity price levy, specified by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, feeds two national funds – one for the safe disposal of radioactive waste, and another for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The Kozloduy nuclear plant pays 3% of the price of its power into the waste management fund and a further 7.5% into the decommissioning fund.


Over 15% of Canada's electricity production comes from its 19 operating nuclear power reactors (about 13.5 GWe capacity).

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was set up under the 2002 Nuclear Fuel Waste Act by the nuclear utilities Ontario Power Generation, Hydro-Québec and New Brunswick Power Corporation, operating in conjunction with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL). Its mandate is to explore options for storage and disposal, and to then make proposals to the government and to implement what is decided.

Disposal status and facilities

The nuclear utilities and AECL remain responsible for LLW and ILW, which are currently stored above ground.

Following a strong positive response to polling of local residents, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in 2005 proceeded with plans to construct a deep geological repository for its LLW and ILW near the Bruce nuclear power plant. The repository will be 680 metres beneath its Western Waste Management Facility, which it has operated since 1974. In April 2011 OPG submitted to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) its 12,500 page environmental assessment, which was approved in May 2015. A final ministerial decision is awaited. Financing for the repository project is provided from the decommissioning fund established under the Ontario Nuclear Funds Agreement. The NWMO will build and operate it for OPG.

In June 2007, the government selected the retrievable deep geological disposal option for used fuel and other HLW – referred to as adaptive phased management (APM) – recommended by the NWMO. The organization designed a siting process and commenced a technical and socio-economic assessment of potential candidate sites in late 2012. The focus has narrowed to two communities: the municipality of South Bruce, and the township of Huron-Kinloss in Bruce County, Ontario. The NWMO expects to have a repository operating by 2035. In March 2020, the NWMO said it remains on track to select a preferred site by 2023.

Waste management facilities

The Western Waste Management Facility stores all the LLW and ILW from the operation of OPG's 20 nuclear reactors, including those leased to Bruce Power. In addition, the facility provides dry storage for used fuel from the Bruce reactors.

The Pickering Waste Management Facility provides dry storage for used fuel from the Pickering reactors. OPG is adding a second phase to the facility.

The Darlington Waste Management Facility provides dry storage for the Darlington reactors.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

Regulator for Federal facilities: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Natural Resources Canada.


About 4% of China’s electricity production comes from its 47 operating nuclear power reactors (about 45.5 GWe capacity). China has a long-term policy of fuel reprocessing.

Disposal status

Separated high-level waste will be vitrified, encapsulated and put into a geological repository some 500 metres deep. Site selection and evaluation has been under way since 1986 and is focused on three candidate locations in the Beishan area of Gansu province. All are in granite host rock. An underground research laboratory will then be built by 2020 and operate for 20 years. The third step is to construct the final repository from 2040 and to carry out demonstration disposal. Acceptance of HLW into a national repository is anticipated from 2050.

A commercial-scale Sino-French reprocessing plant has been proposed, possibly including a MOX plant. Lianyungang city in Jiangsu was a possible location, close to the Tianwan power plant.

A used fuel storage facility with the capacity to hold 3000 tonnes of fuel initially, and possibly 6000 tonnes later is planned near the eventual reprocessing plant.

Industrial scale disposal of LLW and ILW takes place at two sites, with a further three planned (see below).

Waste management facilities

Most used fuel is stored at reactor sites, in ponds. The only dry storage operating is at Qinshan, and this is being expanded. Some used fuel is transported by road to the centralised used fuel storage facility at Lanzhou Nuclear Fuel Complex, 25 km northeast of Lanzhou in central Gansu province.

A pilot reprocessing plant using the Purex process was constructed at Lanzhou Nuclear Fuel Complex in Gansu province. It reprocessed about 50 tonnes of used fuel over 2013-15. A demonstration 200 t/yr used fuel treatment plant is being built in Gansu Nuclear Technology Industrial Park by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) Longrui Technology Company.

Responsible agencies

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is responsible for radioactive waste management.

The China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) is responsible for project control and financial management.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) deals with implementation via four subsidiaries: Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology (BRIUG), China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE), China Institute of Radiation Protection (CIRP) and CNNC China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPE).

The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) is the regulator.


  • There is a levy of CNY 2.6 cents/kWh (USD 0.37 ¢/kWh) on used fuel, use to pay for the management, reprocessing and eventual disposal of HLW. The levy is payable from the fifth year of commercial operation of each reactor.

Czech Republic

About 32% of the Czech Republic’s electricity production comes from its 6 operating nuclear power reactors (about 3.9 GWe capacity). There is no state policy on reprocessing and the question remains open. However CEZ does not perceive it as being economic.

Disposal status

Used fuel is stored at each power plant. Two interim dry storage facilities are in operation at Dukovany, with an additional facility in operation at Temelin.

The government expects site selection for a geological repository of HLW to be completed by 2025, with repository construction beginning 25 years later. Finland's Posiva Solutions is advising the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA/SURAO).

The country has three operating repositories for LILW – Dukovany, Richard and Bratrstvi. The Dukovany facility is the largest of the three, with a 55,000m3 storage volume. The capacity is sufficient to store waste from both the Dujovany and Temelin plants, even with their operational lives extended to 40 years.

Responsible agencies

CEZ is responsible for storage and management of its used fuel until it is handed over to the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA/SURAO).

Eventual disposal of HLW and used fuel is the responsibility of the state organisation, RAWRA/SURAO.


  • Under the Atomic Energy Act 2002, CEZ as nuclear plant operator is required to put aside funds for waste disposal, lodging these with the Czech National Bank. The rate is CZK 0.05/kWh (USD 0.2 ¢/kWh). The Act also requires that nuclear plants are decommissioned following the end of their operating lifetimes and CEZ is also progressively funding this. The adequacy of reserve funds for decommissioning is under the supervision of RAWRA/SURAO.
  • CEZ also funds an internal financial reserve for long-term used fuel storage.


About 30% of Finland’s electricity production comes from its four operating nuclear power reactors (about 2.8 GWe capacity). A fifth unit (1600 MWe capacity) is under construction, and another is planned. The country has a policy of direct disposal of used fuel.

Disposal status and facilities

Underground repositories for LLW and ILW have been in operation at Olkiluoto since 1992 and Loviisa since 1997. These will be expanded to take eventual decommissioning waste. The depth of these is about 100 metres.

Six sites for deep geological disposal of HLW/used fuel were considered between 1987 and 1999, followed by a government decision in 2000 for deep geological disposal in Olkiluoto bedrock at Eurajoki, in line with strong local community support. Construction of the underground rock characterisation facility (Onkalo) began in 2004 and will be extended to the final disposal depth of about 400-450 metres. Research has been conducted there since the beginning of its construction.

Posiva applied for a construction licence for the final repository for 9000 tonnes of used fuel from Olkiluoto and Loviisa and the encapsulation plant in December 2012. The construction licence for both the repository and encapsulation plant was granted in 2015. The operating licence application is expected in 2020, with a view to operation from 2023. Posiva claims that it will have no space in the planned repository for fuel from Fennovoima’s planned Hanhikivi reactor in the north.

Fennovoima plans to build its own deep geological repository, advised by Posiva. The location is to be selected in the 2040s for disposal beginning in the 2090s. The government considers that the most desirable solution is for Fennovoima's used fuel to be placed in Posiva's Onkalo repository at Olkiluoto.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Fortum Power and Heat Oy and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) are responsible for interim storage of used fuel and for the conditioning and disposal of operating LLW and ILW at the Loviisa (Fortum) and Olkiluoto (TVO) nuclear power plants.

Posiva Oy, which is owned by TVO (60%) and Fortum (40%), is responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel of the owners.

Regulator: Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM)


  • The nuclear utilities make payments into the National Nuclear Waste Management Fund, managed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
  • The charges (about 10% of generation costs) are set annually by the government according to the assessed liabilities for each company, and also cover decommissioning.


About 75% of France’s electricity production comes from its 57 operating nuclear power reactors (about 62.5 GWe capacity). The country has a policy of reprocessing used fuel.

The management of radioactive waste in France is governed by the 2006 Nuclear Materials and Waste Management Program Act which established deep geological disposal as the reference solution for long-lived HLW (with retrievability for at least 100 years). The National Plan for Radioactive Materials and Waste Management is updated every three years.

Disposal status and facilities

Most short-lived LLW and ILW is sent for final disposal to the National Radioactive Waste Management Agency's (ANDRA's) surface waste repository:

  • The Centre de l’Aube short-lived low- and intermediate-level waste repository in Soulaines-Dhuys was licensed in September 1989 and took over from the Manche repository in 1992.
  • The Manche waste repository next to La Hague received 527,000 m3 of this waste from 1969 to 1994, and is now capped with a multi-layer grassed cover. It entered the surveillance phase in 2003.

In addition, the Centre de Morvilliers (near the Centre de l’Aube) is a dedicated facility for very LLW (average activity should be under 10 Bq/g) and has been in service since 2003.

For waste contaminated with radium and of graphite (i.e. LLW that is long-lived) a store is being built at the Morvilliers very low-level waste (VLLW) site pending progress with a disposal centre.

In 1999 ANDRA was authorised to build an underground research laboratory in clay at Bure to prepare for disposal of vitrified HLW and long-lived ILW. In 2012 plans for the Industrial Centre for Geological Disposal (CIGEO) deep repository at Bure were endorsed by the Commission Nationale d'Evaluation (CNE). Two further repositories are envisaged.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA).

Regulator: French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Ministry of Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, (Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Énergie et de la Mer).

Commission Nationale d'Evaluation (CNE).


  • EDF sets aside 0.14 Euro cents/kWh (USD 0.15 ¢/kWh) for waste management and decommissioning costs.
  • At the end of 2016 the provision for waste amounted to €19.6 billion and that for decommissioning €16.4 billion.
  • EDF estimates that the total cost (from 2035) will be €75 billion.


About 12% of Germany’s electricity production comes from its six operating nuclear power reactors (about 8.1 GWe capacity). The country has a nuclear phaseout policy in place. If it is not reversed, all nuclear power stations will be closed by around 2022.

The utilities are responsible for interim storage of spent fuel, and have formed joint companies to build and operate offsite surface facilities at Ahaus and Gorleben. Final disposal is the responsibility of the federal government.

In December 2016 the Bundestag resolved to create a €23.6 billion state-owned fund to pay for the interim storage and disposal of all German used fuel and nuclear waste. The four nuclear utilities will provide the funding and will then have no further financial responsibility.

Disposal status and facilities

The last of the separated HLW from past reprocessing in France and the UK is expected to be returned to Germany by 2022 and stored. A total of 166 large casks of glass canisters will be involved, and already 50 of these are in storage at Gorleben. Each holds 28 tonnes of vitrified HLW.

The Morsleben repository for radioactive waste was used for the disposal of LLW and ILW until 1998. It is now being decommissioned.

The former iron ore mine Konrad in Salzgitter has been investigated since 1975 as a possible repository for LLW and ILW. A construction licence was issued in January 2008 for it to initially take some 300,000 m3 – 95% of the country's waste volume, with 1% of the radioactivity. The August 2015 program did not seek an extension to the Konrad repository licence as originally proposed due to local opposition. Another repository, as such, will need to accommodate all ILW and LLW produced by 2022.

The Asse salt mine repository received waste from 1967 to 1978, and is now closed. It is in poor condition and is seen to represent a failure of proper licensing process. The BfS decided in 2010 that the waste should be moved from it. The 126,000 drums of waste are likely to be moved to Konrad.

The salt dome at Gorleben was to be the location for a national centre for disposal of radioactive waste. It is now considered a possible site for geological disposal of HLW. A pilot conditioning plant is there. The site could be available as a final repository from 2025, with a decision to be made about 2019. Research over 1979 to 2000 established the suitability of the site and the investment in it from the power utilities now stands at about €1.6 billion.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Federal Office for the Regulation of Nuclear Waste Management (BfE) under the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Licensing: Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), under the BMU.

Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service (GNS) is responsible for all operations regarding the transport and disposal of waste in Germany, at nine sites.


  • The four nuclear utilities pay for all costs associated with their waste, including setting up repositories; this is through the GNS.
  • The nuclear utilities have already set aside some €38 billion for decommissioning their reactors.


About 3% of India’s electricity production comes from its 22 operating nuclear power reactors (about 6.2 GWe capacity). The country has a policy of reprocessing used fuel.

Disposal status and facilities

Used fuel from the civil PHWRs is reprocessed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay, Tarapur and Kalpakkam to extract reactor-grade plutonium for use in the fast breeder reactors. The used PWR fuel from the Kudankulam and other imported reactors will also be reprocessed. A new reprocessing plant is being built at BARC.

Waste from reactors and reprocessing plants is treated and stored at each site. Waste immobilisation plants are in operation at Tarapur and Trombay and another vitrification plant was commissioned by BARC in 2013 at Kalpakkam for waste from reprocessing Madras used fuel. The immobilisation plants use borosilicate glass, as in Europe.

Research is underway at BARC into the siting and design for final disposal of HLW and long-lived waste.

Responsible agencies

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is the regulator for radioactive waste management in India. The Board reports to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), a government entity.


Up to 2011, Japan's nuclear power reactors accounted for some 30% of electricity produced in the country. There are currently 33 operable power reactors with a total capacity of approximately 31.7 GWe. The country has a policy of reprocessing and a large reprocessing complex at Rokkasho-Mura, Aomori prefecture is being commissioned.

In 2000, the Japanese Diet passed the Law on Final Disposal of Specified Radioactive Waste (the 'Final Disposal Law') which mandates deep geological disposal of HLW (defined as only vitrified waste from reprocessing spent reactor fuel). In line with this, the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NUMO) was set up by the private sector to progress plans for disposal.

In May 2016 parliament passed a bill aimed at "taking measures necessary for the steady implementation of the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel" and MOX fuel fabrication, amending a 2005 law on funding these activities. The bill creates a new entity responsible for reprocessing, the Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organisation (SFRO), which will collect funds and contract out reprocessing and MOX fuel fabrication to JNFL.

Disposal status and facilities

A large LLW disposal centre at the Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL) site in Rokkasho-Mura, Aomori prefecture, has been operational since 1992. JNFL is a private venture led by ten domestic electric power companies.

NUMO is undertaking an open solicitation for candidate sites, with site selection envisaged between 2023 and 2027.

Used fuel storage occurs onsite at all nuclear power plants. An offsite interim storage facility for used fuel from Tepco and Japco plants is due to commence operations in 2013 at Mutsu, Aomori prefecture.

JNFL operates a storage facility at Rokkasho-Mura for vitrified HLW which have been returned from Europe after Japanese used fuel has been reprocessed there.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO).

Regulator: Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) under the Environment Ministry.

Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).


  • Since 2016 Japan's nuclear utilities pay annual contributions to the SFRO to cover the expected cost for reprocessing of all spent fuel they produce in the previous fiscal year, and for turning all of the resulting separated plutonium into MOX fuel. The contributions are based on the amount of electricity generated.
  • Up to 2016, Japan's ten power companies deposited fees for future reprocessing at Rokkasho with the Radioactive Waste Management Funding and Research Centre (RWMC). The fee was JPY0.5 (0.4 US cents) per kilowatt-hour of nuclear electricity generated. The total deposited at RWMC amounted to JPY 2.4 trillion ($21 billion) as of March 2015.


About 3% of the Netherlands' electricity production comes from its single Borssele reactor (about 0.5 GWe capacity).

The country has a policy of reprocessing used fuel and long-term storage (100 years) of all radioactive waste.

Disposal status

Used nuclear fuel from Borssele and the shutdown Dodewaard nuclear plant is reprocessed in France (and formerly in UK). The waste arising from reprocessing is sent to COVRA, based at Borssele, for long-term storage.

Waste management facilities

A low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LILW) management centre was commissioned in 1992 at COVRA.

The HABOG interim dry HLW storage facility at COVRA opened in 2003 with two sections: for ILW, and for vitrified HLW.

Responsible agencies

Implementer and agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste (COVRA).

Regulator: in 2014 the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) was set up as an independent administrative authority under the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment.


About 18% of Russia’s electricity production comes from its 38 operating nuclear power reactors (about 28.4 GWe capacity). Russian policy is to close the fuel cycle as far as possible and utilise recycled uranium. However, less than half used fuel is reprocessed.

Disposal status and facilities

The RT-1 reprocessing plant has operated at Mayak Chemical Combine’s plant at Ozersk in the Urals since 1971. Most of its feed has been from VVER-440 reactors, and its recycled uranium is used in all RBMK reactors. Plutonium is stored for use in fast reactors. The larger RT-2 reprocessing plant is being built at Zheleznogorsk in Siberia.

Wet storage capacity for used fuel at Ozersk is being increased to 9000 tonnes, and that at Zheleznogorsk is being increased to 11,000 tonnes, along with 37,000 tonnes dry storage capacity.

In 2008 the Nizhnekansky Granite Massif in Krasnoyarsk Territory was put forward as a site for a national deep geological repository, initially for 20,000 tonnes of ILW and HLW, which will be retrievable. Public hearings on the Nizhnekansky granite were held in July 2012. The 2016 Territorial Planning Scheme to 2030 confirmed the site and approved construction of repository facilities here for 4500m3 net of class 1 waste and 155,000m3 net of class 2 waste.

Russia's national operator for radioactive waste management (NO RAO) aims to build, by 2024, an underground research laboratory here and a final decision on an HLW repository is expected by 2025.

Radon has been the organisation responsible for medical and LLW & ILW industrial radioactive waste. It has had 16 storage sites for waste up to intermediate level. Not far outside Moscow, the major Radon facility has both laboratories and disposal sites.

In 2016 the Territorial Planning Scheme to 2030 approved construction of near-surface repository facilities for 100,000 m3 LILW at Ozersk for Mayak, for 200,000 m3  LILW at Tomsk for the Siberian Chemical Combine, for 48,000 m3 LILW from Urals Electrochemical Combine at Novouralsk, and for 50,000 m3 LILW at Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad oblast.

Russia has also for many years used deep-well injection for LLW and ILW from some facilities, notably Seversk, Zheleznogorsk and Dimitrovgrad.

Responsible agencies

Rosatom and the National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (FSUE NO RAO) are responsible for coordination and execution of works associated with radwaste management, notably its disposal.

NO RAO functions and tariffs are set by government, notably the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its branches are at Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk, Seversk in Tomsk, Dimitrovgrad in Ulyanovsk and Novouralsk in Sverdlovsk.


  • In the second federal target program for nuclear and radiation safety for 2016 to 2030, nearly 20% of the RUR 562 billion budget is for creating the infrastructure required for the processing and final disposal of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.
  • About 70% of the budget is from federal funds, much of the rest from Rosatom. It will be implemented in three 5-year stages, and involves the transition to new used fuel recycling technologies to close the fuel cycle, establishing a final HLW repository, decommissioning of 82 nuclear and radiation hazardous facilities, two nuclear icebreakers and other tasks.


About 20% of Spain's electricity production comes from its seven operating nuclear power reactors (about 7.1 GWe capacity). Policy is now for direct disposal of used fuel.

In 1984 the state-owned Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos SA (Enresa) was established to take responsibility for radioactive waste management and decommissioning of nuclear plants in the country and is now the only state-owned part of the nuclear industry.

Disposal status

Some used fuel has been reprocessed abroad, but further reprocessing was cancelled in 1983 and since then used fuel has been stored at the nuclear plants.

In mid-2006 parliament approved Enresa's plans to develop a temporary central nuclear waste storage facility, and the safety authority approved its design, which was similar to the Habog facility in the Netherlands. In 2009 the government called for municipalities to volunteer to host this €700 million Almacén Temporal Centralizado (ATC) facility for HLW and used fuel. In December 2011 the Ministry announced that Villar de Canas in Cuenca had been selected as the site, and a 60-year storage period was mentioned.

Research continues on deep geological disposal.

Waste management facilities

The El Cabril LLW and ILW near-surface disposal facility has been in operation in Córdoba since 1961. In 2016 Enresa was given approval by the Nuclear Safety Council to operate the new VLLW disposal facility there, which has a storage capacity of over 17,000 m3.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: National Agency for Radioactive Waste (Enresa).

Regulator for Federal facilities: Nuclear Safety Council (CSN).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Ministry of Finance and Civil Service (Ministerio de Hacienda y Función Pública); Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente).


  • Enresa manages a fund which is provisioned by a 0.7 Euro cents/kWh (USD 0.76 ¢/kWh) levy on electricity sales.


About 40% of Sweden’s electricity production comes from its seven operating nuclear power reactors (about 7.8 GWe capacity). The country's radioactive waste policy is for direct disposal of used fuel in crystalline bedrock.

Nuclear generators are responsible for the costs of managing and disposing of spent fuel. The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) was set up by the generators to manage and dispose of radioactive waste following the Waste Legislation (Stipulation Act) in 1977.

Disposal status and facilities

Short-lived LLW and ILW is disposed of in the final repository (SFR), located 50 metres beneath the Baltic Sea adjacent to the Forsmark nuclear plant. Brought into operation in 1988, SFR comprises four underground caverns and one silo. Capacity is 63,000 cubic metres.

Used fuel is transferred from reactor storage to a central interim storage facility (CLAB) near the Oskarshamn nuclear plant after about a year. Used fuel is stored under water in an underground rock cavern for some 40-50 years. It will then be encapsulated in copper canisters with cast iron internal structure for final emplacement in a 500 metre deep repository in granite. In mid-2015 about 6,000 tonnes of used fuel was at CLAB.

Research at the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory 500 metres deep in wet granite nearby identified geological characteristics for this final deep repository. Two sites were volunteered for the final repository, and Östhammar near Forsmark was selected. SKB applied for a licence to construct the repository in 2011, and SSM will deliver its comprehensive final assessment of the application to the government in 2017 after further safety analysis by SKB, in collaboration with Finland where the concept has been approved.

The repository will have 12,000 tonnes capacity at 500 metres depth in 1.9 billion year-old granite. A 5 km ramp will connect to an eventual 60 km of tunnels over 4 sq km, housing 6000 copper-cast iron canisters containing the used fuel. Each 25-tonne canister will hold 2 tonnes of used fuel. Bentonite clay would surround each canister to adsorb any leakage.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB).

Regulator: the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Ministry of the Environment. An independent committee attached to the ministry is the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet).


  • The nuclear utilities make payments into the Swedish Nuclear Waste Fund (Kärnavfallsfonden) administered by SSM. A separate fund exists for each utility.
  • For the period 2018-2020 the fee is SEK 0.05/kWh (USD 0.51 ¢/kWh). It is reviewed every three years. SKB estimates the total costs of the Swedish nuclear waste programme will amount to SEK 147 billion.


About 40% of Switzerland’s electricity production comes from its four operating nuclear power reactors (about 3.0 GWe capacity).

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that radioactive waste must be disposed of in Switzerland in a deep geological repository. In 1972 a national co-operative for disposal of radioactive waste (NAGRA) was set up, involving power plant operators and the federal government. There is no national policy regarding reprocessing or direct disposal of used fuel, but in 2006 a ten-year suspension of reprocessing was ordered. NAGRA has its own rock laboratory on the Grimsel pass in the Canton of Bern

Disposal status

Zwilag is a waste company owned by four Swiss nuclear utilities. Used fuel is now retained at the reactors or sent to the Zwilag central storage facility (Zentrales Zwischenlager, ZZL) in Würenlingen for interim above-ground, dry cask storage, being managed as HLW.

The ZZL site also has facilities for incineration (in a high temperature plasma oven), conditioning and storage of LLW & ILW.

The Federal Council has accepted NAGRA’s plan for a deep geological repository for HLW and long-lived ILW, and site selection in three stages has been underway since 2008. In 2012 the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) undertook a three-month consultation on NAGRA’s 2008 repository plans. The SFOE considered six possible sites and two were shortlisted in 2015: in Jura Ost and Zurich Nordost. Nördlich Lägern between the two others was added to the shortlist in 2016. Each could accommodate both HLW and LILW repositories. Investigation continues.

Waste management facilities

After removal from the reactor, the used fuel elements are stored for five to ten years at the sites, and may then be sent to ZZL for interim storage.

Zwilag’s ZZL commenced operation as a central interim dry cask storage facility for HLW in 2001 at Würenlingen. It also accepts other radioactive waste. Two smaller interim storage sites for LLW & ILW have been operating since 1993: the federal government's BZL associated with the Paul Scherrer Institute at Würenlingen, and Zwibez at Beznau, which also has a storage hall for dry cask storage of spent fuel and HLW. Waste from medicine, industry and research go to BZL for sorting, conditioning and storage.

All four Swiss nuclear power plants have onsite waste treatment and conditioning facilities as well as stores for LLW & ILW operational waste.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra).

Regulator: Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Swiss Federal Office for Energy (BFE).


  • The nuclear utilities make payments into two funds (decommissioning and waste management respectively), which are independent legal entities administrated by a management commission appointed by the federal government.
  • The cost estimates and annual contributions are periodically updated for both funds.
  • The costs are allocated on the basis of the reactor power and are made at the end of each year of the planned 40-year operating lifetime of each reactor.
  • Both programmes are funded under the Nuclear Energy Act by a levy of about CHF 1 cent/kWh (USD 1 ¢/kWh) on nuclear power production.


About 50% of the Ukraine’s electricity production comes from its 15 operating nuclear power reactors (about 13.1 GWe capacity). The country has had a policy of direct disposal of used fuel, with the possibility of closing the fuel cycle remaining under consideration.

Disposal status and facilities

Storage of used fuel for 50 years before disposal is the current policy, mostly at reactor sites. A long-term dry storage facility for spent fuel has been in operation at Zaporozhe since 2001.

The Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) for Ukraine’s VVER reactors is under construction near Chernobyl (though it will not take any Chernobyl waste). The total storage capacity of the facility will be 16,530 used fuel assemblies, including 12,010 VVER-1000 assemblies and 4520 VVER-440 assemblies in dry storage casks.

Used fuel from decommissioned RBMK reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant will be stored in a new dry storage facility (ISF-2) being built a few kilometres from the plant, and not far from CSFSF. Most is stored temporarily in ISF-1, a pond facility.

VVER-440 fuel has, in the past, been shipped to Russia for reprocessing and significant volumes of VVER-1000 spent fuel have been sent to Russia for storage each year at a cost to Ukraine of over $100 million per year.

Preliminary investigations have shortlisted sites for a deep geological repository for HLW & ILW, including that arising from the clean-up of the Chernobyl site.

A facility for treatment of solid radioactive waste is at Zaporozhe, with a state-of-the-art incinerator. Some LLW is buried near Chernobyl.

The Industrial Complex for Radwaste Management (ICSRM) treats solid LLW & ILW from Chernobyl operations and the decommissioning of units 1 to 3 by incineration, high-force compaction, and cementation, as required.

Responsible agencies

Implementation: Energoatom is responsible for establishment of the national infrastructure for management of used fuel.

The regulator is the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRI/SNRC).

United Kingdom

About 21% of the United Kingdom's electricity production comes from its 15 operating nuclear power reactors (about 8.9 GWe capacity).

The country has had a policy of reprocessing, but is unlikely to reprocess all the used fuel from its AGR reactors and the PWR at Sizewell B.

In April 2005 the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) formally took ownership of UK nuclear liabilities.

Disposal status and facilities

The NDA has set up the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) to develop plans for a deep geological repository for ILW and HLW, and evolve into the entity that builds and operates it. The government has invited communities to volunteer to host this geological disposal facility (GDF), which will accommodate waste from new build as well as legacy waste. The next steps are to carry out: a four-year geological study; surface research lasting ten years; and finally a 15-year period of underground research, construction and commissioning. In these steps the NDA will seek to find an 11-year saving to enable operation from 2029.

In 2015, the government designated the development of a GDF and deep boreholes as nationally significant infrastructure projects, under the Planning Act 2008, in England. This will expedite planning and permitting after plans were stalled in early 2013 when Cumbria County Council voted to halt the project.

Near-surface disposal of solid LLW takes place in engineered vaults at Drigg in Cumbria, which have been operational since 1959.

Intermediate-level waste is stored at Sellafield and other licensed source sites, pending disposal. A new store at Harwell, Oxfordshire, for 2500 m3 of decommissioning waste is planned.

HLW arising from reprocessing is vitrified and stored at Sellafield, in stainless steel canisters in silos. At Sizewell B, used fuel is stored in dry casks. All HLW is to be stored for 50 years before disposal, to allow cooling.

Responsible agencies

Implementer: Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Regulators: Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) – established in April 2014 and replacing the Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Directorate (formerly known as the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate); Environment Agency (EA); Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).


  • The private sector nuclear company, part of EDF Energy, contributes to a separate fund (the Nuclear Liabilities Fund) to cover its long-term decommissioning liabilities for the AGR power stations and the Sizewell B PWR. Short-term liabilities, and used fuel related issues are covered by provisions within the accounts.
  • The government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is responsible for the long-term management of the country's historic and committed nuclear liabilities. Its operations are funded by the government, but a proportion of funding is offset by revenue from the NDA's commercial activities.
  • For Hinkley Point C, waste and decommissioning costs of around £2/MWh have been accounted for in the strike price of the contract for difference agreement (see section on Building new nuclear capacity: Hinkley Point C in the information page on Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom).

United States of America

About 20% of the USA’s electricity production comes from its 95 operating nuclear power reactors (about 96.8 GWe capacity). The USA is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power.

US policy since 1977 has been to forbid reprocessing of used fuel and to treat it all as HLW, which the government is responsible for finally disposing of in a geological repository.

Disposal status and facilities

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 stipulated that the US Department of Energy (DoE) is responsible for disposing of HLW/used fuel, with disposal to commence in 1998. In 2002, the US Senate approved the development a repository at Yucca Mountain. This plan was then vetoed by the Obama administration and a high-level 'Blue Ribbon' commission was appointed to come up with alternative proposals.

Delays in implementing a repository meant that utilities could not be relieved of their used fuel as legislated, so damages have been awarded to meet some of the costs of supplementary dry cask storage at reactor sites. About $5.3 billion had been paid to utilities by September 2015.

Under new standard contracts with the DOE, proponents of new reactor construction must undertake to store used fuel onsite indefinitely, so that the DOE does not become liable for delays. The contracts specify that the DOE will begin removing used fuel within 20 years of the first refuelling. After the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC’s) Waste Confidence Rule was challenged, the process continues under the Continued Spent Fuel Storage Rule.

The Blue Ribbon Commission's report to Congress in January 2012 recommended the development of centralized interim storage, establishing a new organization outside the DOE to manage the US used fuel program. In January 2013 the DOE announced a new approach based on the report.

In response to this, two plans are proceeding: Waste Control Specialists (WCS), which operates the Texas Compact facility, proposes to develop a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel in Texas using Areva NUHOMS dry storage technology for 40,000 tonnes of fuel. The NRC is reviewing the licence application. In New Mexico, the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance plans to establish a CISF there using Holtec Hi-Store UMAX dry storage technology eventually for 10,000 canisters.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) repository for defence-related transuranic waste, located underground in a salt formation in Carlsbad, New Mexico began disposal operations in 1999 as a purpose-built deep geological repository.

For LLW, disposal facilities operate at: Barnwell, South Carolina – operated by EnergySolutions; Richland, Washington – operated by American Ecology Corporation (formerly US Ecology); Clive, Utah – operated by EnergySolutions; Oak Ridge, Tennessee – operated by EnergySolutions; and the Texas Compact Facility – operated by WCS.

Responsible agencies

Regulators: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Agency with responsibility for radioactive waste management: US Department of Energy (DOE)


  • Utilities paid a USD 0.1 ¢/kWh into the Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF).
  • By the end of 2016, utilities had contributed over $21.2 billion into the NWF, which attracts interest at about $1 billion per year.
  • From it there have been some $7 billion as funding disbursements for the Yucca Mountain program, leaving about $28 billion.
  • The fund received over $750 million in fees each year.
  • In November 2013 a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that the DOE should cease collecting the fees from utilities. The DOE stopped collecting the waste fees in May 2014.
  • The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that the NWF has about $37 billion as of 2018.


Radioactive Waste Management