The involvement of the swiss electric industry regarding ownership and operation of the swiss nuclear power plants KKW Beznau 1+2, KKW Gösgen and KKW Leibstadt is limited to the larger utilities AXPO and ALPIQ and a few regional and town utilities, e.g BKW, EWB, AEW, CKW, Town Zürich and some others. With an operational lifetime of 60 years the remaining years of operation from 2020 onwards could be for Beznau-1: 9 years; Beznau-2: 11 years; for Gösgen 19 years and for Leibstadt 24 years. The total average annual power production capacities of these units lie between 20'000 and 26’000 Mio kWh with a market value in the range of 1’000 to 1’500 Mio CHF representing 30 to 40 % of our present national needs for electricity.
There are great uncertainties at the utilities regarding the prospective remaining lifetimes of the units and the future electricity prices. Politics have decided that the units can be operated as long as they are safe. This is however very subjective on which no firm financial planning can be based. Consequently, the book values of these units are very low or even negative which bring the utilities in great difficulties laming the whole sector. This situation has been lasting for many years already and it is obvious that actions and decisions have to be taken to overcome this impasse in order to avoid any shortages of national electric power supply.
Nuclear Assets and Replacement:
The swiss nuclear power plants represent a great public value which need the highest priority of attention and care as long as there are no adequate possibilities for substitution. The possibility of a life-time extension of the units from 60 to 80 years exists, which is currently considered for some American plants. This could be a possible option for the swiss plants as well. The next generation of nuclear reactors presently under development are very promising regarding costs, versatility, wastes and safety. They will however only be available in the late 20ties and would require a change of policy and law in Switzerland.
A major asset of the swiss nuclear power plants are the Funds for Decommissioning and Waste Disposal which are based on operating lifetimes of 50 years and assumed total costs of about 24'000 Mio. CHF. These costs have largely been covered already (directly and indirectly) by the operators of the power plants. These costs are based on the assumption of a complete pull down of the units (back to a green field). This is in our opinion an unrealistic scenario as the existing sites have all been selected based on their suitability for a large power station. The scenarios investigated have not considered latest technologies in nuclear power and nuclear waste management. A new cost study is due in 2021. The above funds represent in the meantime a substantial part of the business reports of the utility companies.
It is our intention to find and propose new solutions to solve existing problems in the electricity sector regarding nuclear power operations and financing. These solutions must be to the benefit of all people, organisations and parties concerned and in particular for the electric utilities, industry, consumers, administration and the involved regions and towns. The result can and may only be a win-win situation to the benefit of everybody and of the nation as a whole.