A major prerequisite in order for civilian commercial nuclear energy production to qualify as sustainable energy production is that systems for the management of the nuclear waste legacy are in operation. These waste types are present in a range from very low short lived waste (VLLW) to long lived high level waste (HLW) (including the used nuclear fuel).
The second prerequisite is that financial responsibilities or other constraints must not be passed on to coming generations.
The first condition for qualification corresponds to the Polluters Pays Principle (PPP) which demands that the responsibility for the waste management rests solely with the polluter. The second qualification corresponds to the principle of fairness between generations and thus concerns the appropriate distribution of responsibilities between the generations.
It is important to note that these two conditions must be met simultaneously, and that compliance with both is a necessary prerequisite in order for commercial use of nuclear power to qualify as a semi-sustainable energy source.
Financial and technical planning for dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear installations cannot be regarded as successful unless it rests upon a distinctive way to describe and explain the well-founded values of different groups of stakeholders. This cumbersome task can be underpinned by transparent and easy to grasp models for calculation and estimation of future environmental liabilities. It essential that a systematic classification is done of all types of costs and that an effort is done to evaluate the precision level in the cost estimates. In this paper, a systematic and transparent way to develop a parametric approach that rest upon basic accounting standards is combined with data about younger stakeholder’s values towards decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear installation. The former entity rests upon theoretical and practical methods from business administration, whilst the latter is based on current survey data retrieved from 667 personal interviews in one town in Poland and one town in Slovakia with a near 100 % response rate.
The main conclusions from this field study may be summarised as follows:
• Sustainable energy sources are prioritised.
• Around one quarter of the respondents regards nuclear power as a future semi-sustainable commercial energy production mode subject to that the waste is managed in a sustainable, environmental friendly and safe way.
• The values are to a significant degree positioned on health, safety and environmental (HSE) attributes.
• The polluter pays principle is honoured.
• There are doubts regarding the compliance with these principles due to risks for delays in the implementation phase of repositories for disposal of the nuclear residues.
• 1/5th of the respondents expressed an openness to reprocessing (which is linked to the concept of “new nuclear power”).