Press release: Increased governmental funding to handle Norway's nuclear waste
Kjeller, October 12, 2017
The Government budget proposal sets a clear direction for the further work on waste management and decommissioning of Norway’s nuclear facilities. A separate Government agency will be established in 2018 to manage the processes related to decommissioning of nuclear installations and safe nuclear waste management.
The national budget proposal includes an allocation of NOK 50 million to be used for activities related to nuclear waste management. This includes the establishment of the new government agency for safe handling of Norwegian nuclear waste and nuclear installations, as well as activities related to further investigations on the treatment of fuel with poor storage properties, establishment of safe storage for nuclear waste in Norway, planning for future decommissioning of reactor plants, and other unforeseen measures, if necessary. The Government has signalled a desire for close cooperation with IFE on the way forward.
The Government also proposes an extraordinary allocation of NOK 50 million in 2018 related to IFE's operation of the Halden Reactor. IFE has experienced a decline in demand in the international market for several years related to research services that the Halden Reactor can deliver. This has led to significantly lower revenues than expected from the Halden Reactor. The decline in demand appears to be of a long-term nature.
It is clear from the national budget proposal that the extraordinary allocation of NOK 50 million for the Halden Reactor is considered as an exception for 2018, with no guarantees for funding beyond 2018. The Government emphasizes that this allocation is provided for 2018 in order to help maintain critical expertise related to the reactors necessary for the future decommissioning of the nuclear installations.
IFE is satisfied with the allocations in the national budget proposal, but stresses that its nuclear operations will still face major economic challenges in 2018. This is creating a situation which is not sustainable over time, with additional risk that IFE’s non-nuclear research activities will be impaired.
IFE has commenced a process with OECD/NEA and key member countries in the Halden Reactor Project to establish how the Halden Reactor Project can be continued in a way that is economically viable for IFE. As the Government is not committing to financing the operation of the Halden Reactor beyond 2018, IFE, together with OECD/NEA and its research partners in the Halden Reactor Project, will have to evaluate which conditions and requirements need to be established to enable the continuation of the Halden Project for the period 2018-2020.
Managing Director: Nils Morten Huseby, tel. +47 905 44 545
Communications Director Silje Aspholm Hole, tel. + 47 930 22 096