Nuclear clean-up could cost Norway 21 billion kroner and last up to 60 years

Nuclear reactor KjellerPhoto: Morten F. Holm / SCANPIX

Preliminary calculations show that it could cost Norway around NOK 21 billion to clean up after the shutdown of Norwegian nuclear facilities.

According to the government, the job could take as much as 50-60 years.

On Friday, the government presented a separate report to the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on the clean-up of the reactors and how the work will be organized.

New facilities, landfills, and storage for nuclear waste must be built, and part of the spent fuel from the nuclear reactors may have to be treated abroad before it can be landfilled, the government noted.

Several key issues are still under investigation, but the government believes that the annual allocations for the work will grow rapidly and that a strategy for the work is needed.

“More expensive every year”

The Department of Energy Technology (IFE), which has been responsible for the reactors, fears it could become even more expensive.

“The costs are already estimated at NOK 21 billion, and for each year that passes before the work starts, the price increases by at least NOK 400 million,” CEO Nils Morten Huseby noted in a press release.

“The report to the Storting sets a framework for the work, but we lack clarity about progress, clear clarification of roles and responsibilities, and how to handle the risk of delays,” he warned.

Separate entity

The government has set up a separate entity to control the clean-up and management of Norwegian nuclear waste, the Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND). 

According to the IFE, it is still unclear when the NND will take over the facilities so that the demolition can start.

Huseby is anxious that the department will have to bear too much of the development costs and that it will affect other tasks.

The long term

“The government will focus on the environment, health, safety, transparency, and cost-effective solutions in the clean-up work,” Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø (V) said in a press release.

According to her, as many as 15 future parliaments will have to make decisions about the clean-up work.

“This places demands on planning and good political processes. We must find predictable solutions,” Nybø added.

Moving away from nuclear power

After the war, Norway wanted to invest in nuclear power for energy supply and transport, and the first Norwegian reactor started up at Kjeller just outside Oslo in 1951.

In the 1970s, however, it became clear that no political majority wanted to invest in Norway’s nuclear power.

The decision to close the research reactor at Halden was made in 2018, and the following year it was decided that the facility at Kjeller would also be closed.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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