Management of Intergenerational Environmental Liabilities: Example of Decommissioning of Nuclear Research and Development Facilities

Management of Intergenerational Environmental Liabilities: Example of Decommissioning of Nuclear Research and Development Facilities

R. Sjöblom S. Lindskog 

Waste Science and Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Sweden

| |
| | Citation



The character is described of various prerequisites for and obstacles against fulfilment of the polluter pays principle in the case of decommissioning of old nuclear research and development (R&D) facilities, and the relevance to other areas is analyzed. Background is compiled in the areas of Swedish old nuclear R&D facilities, environmental liabilities in some areas, and legislation. Two completed decommissioning projects and two under planning are described together with some findings on planning for decommissioning and on cost estimation. Also, an example is given on developing a basis for regulation relating to small facilities. It is concluded that although the polluter pays principle is easy to understand, it may be complicated to implement, especially in cases where there is a gap in time between the operations and the decommissioning. Pitfalls may be plentiful and extensive awareness and substantial efforts are warranted for adequate funds to be available at the time when they are needed. Thus, it is essential that internationally available advice and knowledge be utilized, information exchanged, and necessary knowledge acquired. It is also important to realize that the planning is usually dictated by the needs for fi nancial planning, and that there is a substantial difference between end of license and end of liability. A need for information exchange between different areas of technology is identified and it is hoped that the present work might contribute to such processes.


cost calculation, liability, nuclear, polluter pays principle, segregated fund


[1] Brundtland, G., Chairman, Our Common Future (The Brundtland report). World Commission on environment and Development, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, 1987.

[2] Constitution of Sweden, (In Swedish; Kungörelse (1974:152) om beslutad ny regeringsform). SFS 1974:152.

[3] The Swedish Environmental Code. English translation. Ds 2000:61. (In Swedish Miljöbalk, SFS 1998:808).

[4] Munche, J-F., The architect in the nuclear age. Design of buildings to house radioactivity. Iliffe Books Ltd., London, 1964.

[5] Lindskog, S. & Sjöblom, R., Implementation of the polluter pays principle – example of planning for decommissioning. Environmental Economics and Investment Assessment III. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 131, pp 27–38, 2010. doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.2495/EEIA100031

[6] Labor, B. & Lindskog, S., Values held by young stakeholders on fi nancial planning regarding liabilities for nuclear decommissioning. Environmental Economics and Investment  Assessment III. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 131, pp 235–246, 2010. doi:

[7] Tyszkiewicz, B. & Labor, B., A Survey of Younger Citizens Values towards Decommissioning and Dismantling of Older Nuclear Facilities in a European Perspective. SKI* Report 2008:52. June, 2008.

[8] Lindskog, S. & Sjöblom, R., Radiological, technical and fi nancial planning for decommissioning of small nuclear facilities in Sweden. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, ICEM2009, October 11–15, Liverpool, UK, 2009.

[9] Lindskog, S., Cato, A. & Sjöblom, R., Estimations of costs for dismantling, decommissioning and associated waste management of nuclear facilities, and associated impact on decision processes, functioning of markets and the distribution of responsibilities between generations. Environmental Economics II. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Vol 108, pp 

97–105, 2008. doi:

[10] Lindskog, S. & Sjöblom, R., Regulation evolution in Sweden with emphasis on fi nancial aspects of decommissioning. Decommissioning Challenges: an Industrial Reality? Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 – Avignon, France, 2008.

[11] Iversen, K., Salmenhaara, S., Backe, S., Cato, A., Lindskog, S., Callander, C., Efraimsson, H., Andersson, I. & R. Sjöblom, R., Cost calculations at early stages of nuclear facilities in the Nordic Countries. The 11th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management. September 2–6, 2007, Bruges (Brugge), Belgium.

[12] Andersson, I., Backe, S., Iversen, K., Lindskog, S., Salmenhaara, S. & Sjöblom, R., Cost calculations for decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear facilities. Nordic Nuclear Safety Research, Project NKS-R, Report number NKS-165, July, 2008.

[13] Cato, A., Lindskog, S. & Sjöblom, R., Financial Planning as a Tool for Effi cient and Timely Decommissioning of Nuclear Research Facilities. American Nuclear Society. Decommissioning, Decontamination and Reutilization. Capturing Decommissioning Lessons Learned.  September 16–19, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, 2007.

[14] Sjöblom, R., Sjöö, C., Lindskog, S. & Cato, A., Early stage cost calculations for determination and decommissioning of nuclear research facilities. The 10th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management. Glasgow, UK, 4–8 September, 2005.

[15] Laraia, M. & McIntyre, P. J., responsible offi cers; Cato, A., Lindskog, S. & Sjöblom. R. et al contributors. Decommissioning of research reactors and other small facilities by making optimal use of available resources. IAEA Report Series 463, Vienna, 2008.

[16] Lindskog, S., Sjöblom, R. & Labor B., Sustainability of nuclear energy with regard to decommissioning and waste management. Energy and Sustainability III. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 143, pp 303–314, 2011. doi:

[17] Sjöblom, R. & Lindskog, S., An applied study of the storage for old intermediate level waste at the Studsvik site. SKI Report 2004:11. The Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, February 2004.

[18] Sjöblom, R., Sjöö, C., Lindskog, S. & Cato, A., Cost studies on decontamination and dismantling of nuclear facilities; the interim storage for spent nuclear fuel. (In Swedish: Kärntekniska kostnadsstudier avseende dekontaminering och nedläggning; Mellanförvaret för använt kärnbränsle i Studsvik). SKI Report 2006:20. The Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, April, 2006.

[19] Controlled nuclear chain reaction, the fi rst 50 years. American Nuclear Society, 1992.

[20] Studsvik, Swedish research establishment. EuroNuclear, September, 1965.

[21] Österlundh, C.G. & Erwall, L.G., Erzeugung und Anwendung von Radioisotopen. (In German; Production and use of radioisotopes) Die Atomwirtschaft, February, 1963.

[22] Aler, B., Survey of Sweden. Nuclear Engineering International, September, 1970.

[23] Bladh, R., and Eriksson, O., 40 år I Studsvik. (In Swedish; 40 years at Studsvik). Studsvik AB.

[24] Larsson, K.-E., The nuclear reactor R1 – some high technology pioneer history.  (Kärnreaktorn R1 – ett stycke högteknologisk pionjärhistoria, in Swedish). Daedalus. Tekniska museets  årsbok, årgång 50, 1981.

[25] Mc Hugh, B., Editor, The Ågesta Nuclear Power Station – a staff report. AB Atomenergi, Stockholm, 1964.

[26] Fjæstad, M., & Jonter, T., The Rise of the Nuclear System of Innovation in Sweden. Svenska ekonomisk-historiska mötet i Stockholm, 2007.

[27] The older Westgothia law. (In Swedish: Äldre Västgötalagen, översatt och förklarad av Nat. 

Beckman). Appelbergs Boktryckeri Aktiebolag, Uppsala, 1924.

[28] The Swedish Forestry Act. (In Swedish Skogsvårdslagen). SFS:429, 1979.

[29] Lindeström, L., The environmental history of the Falun Mine. Almqvist & Wiksell Tryckeri, Uppsala, 2003.

[30] Lindroth, S., Mining and copper benefi ciation at the Great Copper Mountain. (In Swedish: Gruvbrytning och kopparhantering vid Stora Kopparberget). Almqvist & Wiksell Boktryckeri AB, Uppsala, 1955.

[31] Radiation Protection Act. (In Swedish: Strålskyddslag). SFS 1988:220.

[32] Act on Nuclear Activities. (In Swedish: Lag om kärnteknisk verksamhet). SFS 1984:3.

[33] Nuclear Liability Act. (In Swedish: Lag om fi nansiella åtgärder för hanteringen av restprodukter från kärnteknisk verksamhet). SFS 2006:647.

[34] Decommissioning of nuclear power plants and research reactors. Safety Guide. IAEA safety standard series No WS-G.2.1.6.

[35] Decommissioning of Nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Safety Guide. IAEA safety standard series No WS-G.2.4.7.

[36] Decommissioning of medical, industrial and research facilities. Safety Guide. IAEA safety standard series No WS-G.2.2.8.

[37] Decommissioning Handbook. Procedures and practices for decommissioning. Offi ce of  Environmental Management. U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. 20585, USA. DOE/EM-0383, January 2000.

[38] Standard Guide for Nuclear Facility Decommissioning Plans. ASTM standard E1281 89(2005).

[39] Standard Guide for Estimating Monetary Costs and Liabilities for Environmental Matters. ASTM Standard E 2137 – 06, December, 2006.

[40] Standard Guide for Disclosure of Environmental Liabilities. ASTM Standard E 2173 – 07, April 2007.

[41] International Financial Reporting Standards and International Accounting Standards (IFRS/ IAS). International Accounting Standards Board. 2008.

[42] European Union Recommendation “on the management of fi nancial resources for the decommissioning of nuclear installations, spent fuel and radioactive waste”. Brussels, 24 October C(2006)3672.

[43] Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: Policies, Strategies and Costs. Nuclear Energy Agency, Organization for Economic Co-operation and development, OECD/ NEA, 2003.

[44] Accounting Act. (In Swedish: Bokföringslag). SFS 1999:1078

[45] Annual Reports Act. (In Swedish: Årsredovisningslag). SFS 1995:1554

[46] The Swedish Companies Act. (In Swedish: Aktiebolagslagen). SFS 2005:551.

[47] Bokföringsnämndens allmänna råd om årsredovisning i mindre aktiebolag. (General advice on annual reporting in small companies issued by the Swedish Accounting Standards Board, In Swedish).

[48] The Swedish Penal Code. (In Swedish: Brottsbalk). SFS 1962:700.

[49] Dahlqvist, A.-L. & Elofsson, S., Crimes in accountance and the law. (Swedish title:  “Bokföringsbrott och bokföringslagen”). Norstedts juridik, Stockholm, 2005.

[50] Jonsson, B., Bergstrom, L. & Lindberg, M., Decommissioning of the ACL and ACF plants in Studsvik, Sweden. Waste Management ‘04 Conference, February 29 – March 4, Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2004.

[51] Hedvall, H.R., Stridsman, K.H., Berg, R.S. & Johnsson, B., Project evaluation of the decommissioning of a laboratory plant at Studsvik. Waste Management ‘06 Conference, February 26 – March 2, Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2006.

[52] Ellmark, C., Eriksson, A. & Lindberg, M., Lessons learned from decommissioning of a r esearch laboratory and how to apply these on upcoming decommissioning projects at the Studsvik site. ICEM’07. The 11th international conference on environmental remediation and radioactive waste management, Brugge, Belgium, September 2–6, 2007.

[53] Hedvall, R., Lessons learned from the decommissioning of contaminated small waste storage facilities and other papers presented at the Seminar on Decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Studsvik 2010–09–14 –– 16. Arranged by The Nordic Nuclear Safety Research, The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, and Studsvik.

[54] The NEA Co-operative programme on decommissioning. A decade of progress. Radioactive waste management, OECD/ NEA, 2006.

[55] Sandstedt, K.E. & Mogard, H., Operating experience with the Ågesta  nuclear power plant. Proceedings of the fourth international conference on peaceful uses of atomic energy. Jointly sponsored by the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency and held in Geneva 6 – 16 September, 1971.

[56] Österlundh, C.G., Former member of staff at Studsvik. Private communication.

[57] Moos, L. P., Wescott, J. B., Flemming, D. L., Subbaraman, G. & Horton, P., Decontamination and dismantlement of the Argonne National Laboratory – East Map Tube Facility. One of the papers in 15],volume 1, pp 164–167.

[58] Varley, G. & Ruch, C., An applied study on the decontamination and decommissioning of the map tube facility, 317 area, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago. SKI Report 2005:34. Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, January, 2005.

[59] Ordinance on fi nancial action for the management of residues from nuclear technology  activities. (Förordning om fi nansiella åtgärder för hanteringen av restprodukter från k ärnteknisk verksamhet, in Swedish). SFS 2008:715.

[60] Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment. (In Swedish: Förordning om konsekvensutredning vid regelgivning. SFS 2007:1244

[61] Ordinance on obtaining an Opinion from the Swedish Better Regulation Council. (In Swedish: Förordning om myndigheters inhämtande av yttrande från Regelrådet.) SFS 2008:530

[62] Bokföringsnämndens allmänna råd om årsredovisning i mindre aktiebolag. (General advice on annual reporting in small companies issued by the Swedish Accounting Standards Board, In Swedish).

[63] Padilla, E., Intergenerational equity and sustainability. Ecological Economics 41, pp. 69–83, 2002. doi: