Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: Policies, Strategies by Nuclear Energy Agency

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Engineering judgement is necessary in all cases to appropriately adapt any assumptions to the specific case being considered. All approaches must be based on a model of planned decommissioning activities and time schedule, although the level of detail will vary according to the approach. The most precise and detailed cost estimates will be based on bottom-up activity-based models of the specific site being decommissioned. They may be more difficult to perform but are likely to be the most robust and accurate.

This issue was subsequently addressed by the NEA, the IAEA and the EC in a joint publication (NEA, 1999). Based on the experience within the NEA’s Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning, the work of a series of IAEA Consultant Groups, and the EC programme on decommissioning costs (EC DB COST), a series of definitions of cost groups and cost items was developed. In this context, cost items are defined as the various and specific decommissioning tasks and types of work that are generically necessary within any decommissioning programme.

How is the liability accounted for? The detailed methods for calculating and reporting liabilities differ from country to country and sometimes between operators in a given country. In practice, two main methods – current value and net present value – and sometimes variations of these are generally used for calculating future financial liabilities associated with decommissioning. In both methods, the value of the liability is adjusted periodically as the cost estimates evolve owing to technology progress, regulatory changes and inflation, as applicable.

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