The management (handling and storage) of radioactive waste is governed by the provisions of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Energy Act (KEG) and the Swiss Federal Nuclear Energy Ordinance (KEV), both of which entered into effect on 1 February 2005.
The Act (KEG) stipulates the main requirements, which are as follows:
- Radioactive waste has to be disposed of in such a manner as to ensure the permanent protection of human beings and the environment.
- The principle of "user pays" applies to the safe disposal of radioactive waste.
- Radioactive waste produced in Switzerland must be disposed of within Switzerland.
- Radioactive waste must be disposed of in deep geological repositories.
- The licence for the operation of a deep geological repository will be issued by the Federal Council and approved by Parliament.
- Parliamentary approval of this licence is subject to an optional national referendum.
The Ordinance regulates the enforcement of the provisions of the Act:
- The federal State (Swiss Confederation)specifies the storage objectives and criteria in a sectoral plan, and also defines the procedure for the selection of suitable storage sites.
- The Ordinance contains a list of the fundamental safety requirements to be met by a deep geological repository, e.g. sufficient volume of suitable host rock, favourable hydrological conditions, long-term geological stability.
- The monitoring and recoverability of stored radioactive waste must be guaranteed until the repository has been definitively sealed.