The aim behind the Waste Disposal Fund is to secure the costs for the disposal of nuclear waste and spent fuel elements following the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant. The most important cost components are containers for transport and storage, transport, reprocessing and disposal of spent fuel elements, central waste treatment and interim storage, and the end storage of radioactive waste in two deep geological repositories. The proprietors of the five nuclear power plants in Switzerland (Beznau 1 and 2, Mühleberg, Gösgen and Leibstadt) are obliged to pay annual contributions into this fund.
On 25 June 2014, the Federal Council announced a revision of the Swiss Federal Ordinance on the Decommissioning Fund and the Waste Disposal Fund, including an adjustment of the calculation basis for the annual contributions to be paid into the two funds by the operators of nuclear facilities and power plants. The new calculation is based on a return on investment of 3.5 percent and an inflation rate of 1.5 percent. In addition, a safety surcharge of 30 percent on the calculated decommissioning and disposal costs has been introduced. The new regulations entered into force on 1 January 2015. Based on the new provisions, the administrative commission carried out an interim assessment and specified the new annual contributions for the remainder of the assessment period (2015 and 2016). With one exception, the nuclear power plant operators who are obliged to pay into the funds have lodged an appeal against the new annual contributions.
The amount of required contributions to the Disposal Fund is based on the anticipated disposal costs, which according to the current calculations will be approximately 16 billion Swiss francs (pricing basis, 2011). As of the end 2014, 5.3 billion Swiss francs had been spent (e.g. for research and preparatory tasks, reprocessing of spent fuel elements, construction of a central interim storage facility, acquisition of transport and storage containers). Another portion (amounting to 2.2 billion Swiss francs) will be required from 2014 until the time of decommissioning, and this amount has to be covered by the operators on an ongoing basis. The fund thus has to secure 8.4 billion Swiss francs.