Sustainability of Nuclear Energy with Regard to Decommissioning and Waste Management

Sustainability of Nuclear Energy with Regard to Decommissioning and Waste Management

Lindskog B. Labor R. Sjöblom

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Sweden

Badania Dydaktycne, Poland

Waste Science & Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden

22 May 2013
| Citation



Sustainability aspects of nuclear power are analysed with regard to such environmental liabilities that are asso- ciated with decommissioning of nuclear facilities and with nuclear waste management. Sustainability is defined and evaluated based on information searches that also include energy from combustion of coal. It is concluded that the claims on sustainability put forward by different parties are inconsistent and that coherent methodolo- gies for evaluation are needed together with appropriately structured knowledge bases. Examples are presented from the perspective of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. It is found that nuclear power can qualify as sustainable only if the nuclear liability associated with protection of health and the environment - now and in the future – is appropriately managed. Sustainability awareness is analysed in a historic perspective, and it    is found that it has been around for at least as long as agriculture, and that at least some of the shortcomings are actually modern inventions. Comprehensive perspectives are essential, since sustainability awareness may appear as trends. It is a historical fact that planning for decommissioning and estimation of associated costs are frequently treacherous exercises. However, costs must be relatively accurately estimated already at early stages so that adequate funds are available at the time when they are needed. Thus, the timing of the technical planning is often governed by the needs for financial planning. It is the duty of the present generation to assess what is adequate and to find responsible solutions. But the next generation should also be asked to carefully consider the perspective that they provide to us.


cost calculation, liability, nuclear, segregated fund, sustainability, younger stakeholders


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*SKI = Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, now Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). Reports are available at