The Minjoo Party lawmaker Hong Eui-rak said on October 25 that 26.35 trillion won (US$23.7 billion) is required until 2035 for the storage of spent nuclear fuel and 37.77 trillion won (US$33.9 billion) is required for permanent disposal until 2053.
According to the Radioactive Waste Management Act, the cost related to the management of spent nuclear fuel are to be calculated every two years and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) is to bear 100% of the costs.
At present, a total of 754,044 fuel bundles are required to be disposed of, which is divided into 89,407 LWR fuel bundles and 664,637 HWR fuel bundles. Each of the former requires 319.81 million won (US$287.000) and each of the latter requires 13.2 million won (US$11,800).
Each HWR fuel bundle uses natural uranium (U-235 0.7%) as its fuel and weighs 24 kg. Each LWR fuel bundle uses 3% to 5% enriched U-235 and weighs approximately 450 kg.
“The costs for spent nuclear fuel management reflect nothing but accident insurance with a maximum compensation of 500 billion won (US$450 million) and do not reflect actual accident handling costs and monitoring costs for the reason that the calculation of these is impossible,” the lawmaker remarked, adding, “This implies that the actual management costs are likely to be astronomical.”
He continued to say, “Given that a total of 64 trillion won (US$57.6 billion) is required for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel while KHNP’s annual profits stand at 900 billion won (US$810 million), the burden is likely to be shifted to the people in the form of an inevitable rise in electricity prices, and this is why calling for the construction of more nuclear power plants is problematic.”