Our mandate – and who funds us

Nagra is a Cooperative. We develop and implement safe and sustainable long-term solutions for the disposal of radioactive waste in Switzerland.

The members of our Cooperative are the operators of the nuclear power plants, the ZWILAG Würenlingen AG interim storage facility and the Federal Government (Swiss Confederation) that is responsible for radioactive waste arising from applications in medicine, industry and research. Every five years, we publish a “Waste Management Programme” that describes in detail how radioactive waste disposal is planned and implemented in Switzerland: we explain how we intend to construct a deep geological repository, where we stand today, what progress has been made so far and what remains to be done.

A “Sectoral Plan” regulates the site selection process for a deep geological repository

The search for a repository site is being carried out in line with the so-called “Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories“ under the leadership of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). Nagra is supervised by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI). Nagra’s mandate is to plan, construct and operate a deep geological repository. To this end, we develop the technical and scientific groundwork and collaborate with national and international research institutes. This work forms the basis of proposals that we submit to the responsible authorities and commissions for review.

A deep geological repository requires a general licence from the Federal Council. To obtain this, we submit a general licence application that is soundly based on scientific research. The federal authorities review the documents and submit them for a broad consultation process. The Federal Council can then grant the general licence and determine the repository site. Parliament must approve the decision of the Federal Council, which is then subject to an optional national referendum. Should this be held, the Swiss voters are expected to make their decision in 2031.

Funded by the members of our Cooperative

The members of our Cooperative are the nuclear power plant operators and the Federal Government. In accordance with the polluter pays principle, they finance ongoing costs and thus also Nagra’s activities.

To cover costs after the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities, the nuclear power plant operators make annual contributions to the Decommissioning and Waste Disposal Funds. These are under federal supervision. The disposal costs of radioactive waste are determined every five years and form the basis for the contributions of the nuclear power plant operators into the Funds. The basis for this is the Decommissioning and Waste Disposal Funds Ordinance.

Disposal costs included in electricity price

The current and future waste disposal costs for waste arising from the nuclear power plants is included in the present electricity price. For each kilowatt hour of nuclear power, the consumer pays around 1 rappen (cent) towards waste disposal, i.e. the decommissioning and dismantling of the nuclear power plants, waste transports, interim storage and deep geological disposal, including all related research and investigations.

The Federal Government is responsible for collecting waste arising from applications in medicine, industry and research. The producers of these types of radioactive waste also have to pay a disposal fee.

Joint effort towards a safe future

Nagra is committed to the disposal of radioactive waste to ensure an unspoiled environment and a safe future for generations to come .

Schutz von zukünftigen Generationen und der Umwelt

Photo © Yarruta | Dreamstime.com

Cover photo: 191154928 © Lisica66 | Dreamstime.com