Why decommissioning South Africa's Koeberg nuclear plant won't be easy - And will cost 3X what has been set aside already
The cost of nuclear is not just the construction and running costs. There is also a significant decommissioning cost. Failure to do that would have catastrophic results.
Models based on estimates for Belgium and Canada translate to a Koeberg decommissioning cost of R48-billion and R50-billion respectively, while a recent local determination puts the figure at R35-billion. All nuclear power plants accredited by the International Atomic Energy Agency must regularly set aside funds to finance the eventual decommissioning. By 2016, Eskom had paid R10.9-billion into a trust for this purpose.
But these provisions seem insufficient and the utility will probably need to raise additional funding to shut down Koeberg.
Eskom is responsible to pay for the site’s rehabilitation, but not for final waste disposal. The funding of that process ultimately becomes the responsibility of the state (read taxpayer).
So the costs are still to come....