(Updated 2021)


This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in Switzerland, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants (NPPs).

The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in Switzerland.

Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011, the Federal Council announced the suspension of pending procedures for general licence applications for new NPPs. In the course of 2011, the Federal Council and Parliament decided to withdraw nuclear energy on a step by step basis and laid the foundations for a new energy policy, also known as the Energy Strategy 2050. The intention is to decommission Switzerland’s five operational NPPs when they reach the end of their service life and not to replace them. Despite this decision, Switzerland intends to maintain and further develop its nuclear competency, all while fostering its collaboration with the IAEA with regard to nuclear safety, security and safeguards. On 20 December 2019, the first NPP, Mühleberg, with an approximate output power of 373 MW, was permanently shut down.



1.1.1. Energy policy

Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, the Federal Council decided to phase out nuclear power. The five existing NPPs could continue operations until the end of their lifetimes, as long as the safety requirements of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) are met. The first NPP, Mühleberg, was shut down at the end of December 2019, following a decision by the operator. Further, the permit process for three new planned NPPs was halted. Switzerland’s phase out decision stemmed from the fact that public opinion — split 50/50 before 2011 — had become more heavily anti-nuclear. Under these conditions, approval of new NPPs in foreseeable referendums was considered impossible. The phase out decision was also endorsed by Parliament (National Council and Council of States).

The nuclear phase out requires a new energy policy to replace the 36% of the current electricity supply generated from nuclear power, assuming electricity demand growth can be stabilized in the years to come. The gap is to be filled by a mix of other options, including ambitious efficiency measures, accelerated promotion of new renewable energies, additional large hydropower projects, development of some gas fired (gas turbine combined cycle) and combined heat and power plants, as well as increased electricity trade. Gas fired power, a novelty for Switzerland, will also make it more challenging to meet the national climate policy goal.

Public consultation on the new energy policy, the Energy Strategy 2050(1), took place from 28 September 2012 to 31 January 2013. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) evaluated the statements and adjusted the project accordingly. The Federal Council presented its message to Parliament in September 2013, leading to the new Energy Act. A final vote of Parliament took place in September 2016. A public referendum in May 2017 confirmed the new Energy Act. On 1 January 2018, the Energy Act entered into force.

In order to consider the latest framework data and technology developments in Switzerland’s energy landscape, the SFOE has prepared an updated strategy in Energy Perspectives 2050+ (EP 2050+)(2). EP 2050+ considers a net zero emissions scenario and examines how to develop an energy system that is compatible with the long term climate goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while ensuring a secure energy supply. Several variants of this scenario are considered, using different combinations of technologies and speeds of the renewable energy transition in the electricity sector.

Figure 1 shows the outline of EP2050+, which uses the latest framework data and technology developments and sets the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

FIG. 1. Energy Perspectives 2050+.

1.1.2. Estimated available energy

Table 1 contains information on estimated available energy by source.


Fossil fuels Nuclear Renewables
Solid* Liquid Gas Uranium Hydro Other renewable
Total amount in specific units —** —** —** —** —** —**
Total amount in exajoules (EJ) 0.146 0.044

* Million tonnes.

** —: data not available.

1.1.3. Energy Consumption Statistics

Table 2 contains energy statistics.


Final Energy consumption [PJ] 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019 Compound
annual growth
rate 2000–2019 (%)
Total 805 847 858 777 759 -0.31
Coal, Lignate and Peat 6 6 6 5 4 -2.11
Oil 465 469 450 378 351 -1.47
Natural gas 89 101 112 111 115 1.36
Bioenergy and Waste 41 44 54 52 59 1.93
Electricity 188 206 215 209 206 0.48
Heat 17 21 22 21 24 1.83

*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.

**Total energy derived from primary and secondary generation sources. Figures do not reflect potential heat output that may result from electricity co-generation.

—: data not available.

Source(s): United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1


1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process

The Federal Electricity Supply Act (StromVG, effective since 1 January 2008) creates the framework for a phased liberalization of Switzerland’s electricity market. The market was partially opened for eligible customers(3) in 2008. Full market liberalization, foreseen in 2021, will be introduced on the basis of a federal resolution, which will be subject toan optional referendum.

In order to increase the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, an amendment was made to the Federal Electricity Supply Act, introducing compensatory feed-in remuneration to cover the cost of electricity from renewable energy sources.

1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector

At present, Switzerland’s electricity market is highly fragmented. The supply of electricity is assured by some 620 electricity distributors, including seven generation and transmission companies. There are also approximately 80 larger Swiss electricity producing companies. Many tasks are undertaken by communes, which also supply water and gas. In some cantons and cities, a single vertically integrated company is responsible for the entire supply chain, while a variety of companies provide for other cantons. The public sector stake in the capital stock of electricity supply companies is currently around 87.5%, while the remaining 12.5% is held by private sector companies (domestic and abroad).

Switzerland regulated grid usage in the Federal Electricity Supply Act. The act stipulates that the high voltage transmission grid should be operated by the national grid company, Swissgrid, which guarantees non-discriminatory access to the electricity grid for all companies. In accordance with the Federal Electricity Supply Act, the ownership of an ultra-high voltage network was transferred to Swissgrid before 1 January 2013. The act also stipulates the unbundling of previously vertically integrated companies.(4)

ElCom is Switzerland’s independent regulatory authority in the electricity sector. It is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Swiss Federal Electricity Act, taking all necessary related decisions and making rulings where required. ElCom monitors electricity prices and rules as a judicial authority on disputes relating to network access and payment of cost covering feed-in of electricity produced from renewable energy. It also monitors the security of the electricity supply and regulates issues related to international electricity transmission and trading.

1.2.3. Main indicators

In 2020, the share of hydropower in total electricity production was 52%, while nuclear power contributed 35%. The remaining 16% was covered by fossil and renewable sources. Tables 3 and 4 provide further information on the electricity production, consumption and capacity.


Electricity production (GWh) 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019 Compound
annual growth
rate 2000–2019 (%)
Total 67 519 59 649 67 815 67 681 73 543 0.45
Coal, Lignate and Peat 0 0 0 0 0
Oil 227 214 68 35 28 -10.43
Natural gas 857 870 1 027 629 645 -1.48
Bioenergy and Waste 1 745 2 108 2 425 2 818 3 168 3.19
Hydro 38 230 33 087 37 825 39 881 40 962 0.36
Nuclear 26 446 23 341 26 339 23 089 26 418 -0.01
Wind 3 8 37 110 146 22.69
Solar 11 21 94 1 119 2 177 32.09

*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.

**Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.

—: data not available.

Source: United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1


2000 2005 2015 2020
Energy consumption (GJ/capita) 119.4. 120.1 101.8 86.91
Electricity consumption (kW·h/capita) 7’310 7’732 7’071 6’478
Electricity production/energy production (%) 22.04 23.18 25.01 26.8
Nuclear/total electricity (%) 38.2 38.0 34 33.5
Ratio of external dependency (%)* 90.05 93.24 87.92 72.1

*Latest available data.

Source: RDS-1 and RDS-2

—: data not available.



2.1.1. Overview Development of a nuclear programme

In November 1945, the Government established the independent Atomic Energy Committee with a mandate to advise the Government in all civilian and military matters dealing with nuclear energy. On 18 March 1957, Parliament ratified the Statute of the IAEA, which entered into force on 29 July 1957. In 1969, Switzerland signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was ratified by Parliament on 9 March 1977.

As early as 1946, Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC, now ABB Group) took the first steps to build a team of physicists and to launch a nuclear development programme. BBC was later joined by Sulzer Brothers and Escher Wyss. Initial studies dealt with graphite–carbon dioxide reactor concepts; however, the development concentrated on heavy water moderated reactors starting in 1952, with subsequent planning of the research reactor DIORIT. In 1955, more than 150 private companies joined forces and formed Reactor Ltd to build and operate the new, privately owned research centre in Würenlingen, with two reactors on the site: SAPHIR and DIORIT. In 1960, the Government took over the research centre, known by its abbreviation EIR (Eidgenössisches Institut für Reaktorforschung). In 1988, the merger of EIR and SIN (Schweizerisches Institut für Nuklearphysik) led to the creation of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).

In Switzerland, the nuclear age began on 30 April 1957, when the SAPHIR research reactor went critical under the responsibility of Swiss scientists and engineers. This pool reactor had been purchased in 1955 from the Government of the United States of America, after being exhibited in Geneva during the First International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. SAPHIR was shut down permanently at the end of 1993.

DIORIT, the first reactor designed and constructed in Switzerland, reached criticality on 15 August 1960. It was moderated and cooled by heavy water, the fuel was initially natural uranium, and a special loop allowed for the testing of power reactor fuel elements. DIORIT was shut down permanently in 1977. At the end of 2003, all radioactive material was removed from the reactor building.

In 1962, construction began on the experimental nuclear power reactor in Lucens, a 30 MW(th), 6 MW(e), heavy water moderated, carbon dioxide cooled reactor located in an underground cavern. Criticality was reached in late 1966 and commissioning was completed in early 1968. In spite of numerous difficulties, the supply consortium led by Sulzer Brothers had demonstrated the capacity of Switzerland to build nuclear plants. The goal was the development of a small to medium sized power reactor fuelled with natural uranium within a massive containment system. As enriched uranium became readily available during the mid-1960s, the unit size of commercially offered light water reactor (LWR) NPPs increased drastically and Swiss utilities started construction of such plants very early on. Interest in the Lucens reactor type decreased, however, and further large expenses for such a development could not be justified. The decision was taken to operate the reactor until the end of 1969. However, on 21 January 1969, the plant was abruptly put out of service by a partial core meltdown that destroyed the integrity of the primary system and released radioactivity into the cavern. After decontamination, decommissioning and termination of intermediate storage of radioactive material, the entire site was prepared for unrestricted reuse in 2003. Nuclear power plant projects

In August 1965, a turnkey contract was awarded by Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke AG (NOK) to a consortium made up of Westinghouse International Atomic Power Company and BBC for the supply of a 350 MW(e) plant equipped with a pressurized water reactor (PWR) and two turbo generators (Beznau). In late 1967, NOK took the option to order a duplicate of the first unit. Beznau I reached criticality by the end of June 1969 and Beznau II in October 1972.

Also in 1965, Bernische Kraftwerke AG (BKW) chose a 306 MW(e) plant equipped with a boiling water reactor (BWR) manufactured by General Electric and twin turbo generators from BBC (Mühleberg). In July 1971, full power was achieved, but on 28 July 1971 a turbine fire broke out. Sixteen months later the plant was officially handed to the owner.

In 1973, a supply contract was signed by a consortium of Swiss utilities with Kraftwerk Union (Siemens) for the delivery of a 900 MW(e) PWR and turbogenerator (Gösgen). Construction of the plant went very smoothly up to the first connection to the grid in February 1979 and an 80% power test in March 1979. However, the accident at Three Mile Island on 28 March 1979 led to an eight month delay in its commissioning.

In December 1973, a consortium of Swiss utilities and one German utility awarded a turnkey contract to General Electric Technical Services Overseas (GETSCO) and BBC for the supply of a 940 MW(e) NPP equipped with a BWR (Leibstadt). Construction began in 1974 and the plant was commissioned in December 1984. Political controversy and legal framework

The nuclear controversy began in Switzerland in 1969 with the first signs of local opposition to a nuclear plant project at Kaiseraugst, near Basel. For 20 years, the Kaiseraugst project was to remain centre stage in the nuclear controversy: site permit, local referendums, legal battles, site occupation by opponents in 1975, parliamentary vote in favour of construction in 1985, and finally a parliamentary decision in 1989 to end the project definitively. Further, the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant had a dramatic impact on the political climate. Although some of the necessary permits had already been issued for two planned NPPs at Kaiseraugst and Graben, their construction was subsequently abandoned, as well as other projects in Verbois, Inwil and Rüthi.

The nuclear controversy led to several anti-nuclear initiatives at the federal level:

  1. An attempt to forbid all nuclear plants, both new and those already in operation — rejected by 51.2% of the vote in February 1979.

  2. Aimed at forbidding future nuclear plants, leaving untouched the plants in operation, two initiatives differing only in the treatment to be applied to Leibstadt, then under construction — rejected by 55% of the vote in September 1984.

  3. Nuclear phase out — rejected by 52.9% of the vote in September 1990.

  4. A ten year moratorium on the construction of new NPPs — accepted by 54.6% of the vote in September 1990.

  5. Two initiatives organized in 1999 aiming at the ban of the construction of new NPPs until 2010 and the closure of all NPPs after a 30 year lifespan — rejected in May 2003 by 58.4% and 66.3%, respectively.

A new Nuclear Energy Act came into force on 1 February 2005 in addition to the new Nuclear Energy Ordinance. It allowed the possibility of building new reactors, with the possibility of a referendum against their construction, yet there is no time limit to the lifetime of existing NPPs. The general licence of the existing NPPs is still in place. It introduced a ten year moratorium on the export of nuclear fuel for reprocessing from 2006 to 2016. It also included provisions for decommissioning and simplified licensing procedures and introduced the general right of appeal.

During the ten year moratorium on reprocessing, which began in July 2006, spent fuel was stored in Switzerland. Plutonium and uranium gained from reprocessing of spent fuel that was sent abroad before July 2006 was recycled in Switzerland’s NPPs. The radioactive waste arising from reprocessing of spent fuel was returned to Switzerland.

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, the head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) announced in mid-March 2011 that the pending procedures for handling applications for general licences for new NPPs had been suspended. Then, in the course of 2011, with their decision to withdraw from the use of nuclear energy on a step by step basis, the Federal Council and Parliament laid the foundations for a new energy policy, the Energy Strategy 2050. The intention is to decommission Switzerland’s five NPPs when they reach the end of their service life and not to replace them with new ones. According to the Energy Strategy 2050 and the amended Nuclear Energy Act, reprocessing is forbidden indefinitely.

The public consultation on the Energy Strategy 2050 took place from 28 September 2012 to 31 January 2013. The Federal Council presented its message to Parliament in September 2013 in the new Energy Act. A final vote of Parliament took place in September 2016. A public referendum in May 2017 confirmed the new amended provisions of the Energy Act. On 1 January 2018 the new amended act entered into force. Radioactive waste management

The safe disposal of radioactive waste is the responsibility of those parties that produce the waste, namely the NPP operators: BKW Energie AG (Mühleberg), Kernkraftwerk Gösgen–Däniken AG, Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG, Axpo Power AG (Beznau I and II), Alpiq AG and the central interim storage operator Zwilag (Zwischenlager Würenlingen AG). In 1972, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) was established together with the Swiss Confederation, which is responsible for the disposal of radioactive waste from the health care sector, industry and research.

So far, there are no deep geological repositories in Switzerland. For both low and intermediate level waste (LILW) and high level waste (HLW) repositories, a site selection process is defined in a sectoral plan within the framework of the spatial planning legislation. The Federal Council adopted the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories in April 2008, thus initiating a three stage procedure that will result in the designation of suitable sites for deep geological repositories. Stage 1 (2008–2011) focused on the identification of suitable siting regions using safety and geological criteria. Stage 2 (2011–2018) aimed at selecting at least two sites each for the LILW and the HLW repository. The goal of the ongoing Stage 3 (2018 until approximately 2029) is site selection (see Section 2.7).

2.1.2. Current organizational structure

Figure 2 contains a current organizational flow chart for decision making regarding nuclear energy policies.

FIG. 2. Current organizational flow chart for decision making on nuclear energy policies.


2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants

Currently, four NPPs at four sites are in operation in Switzerland (see Table 5). In addition, there is one research reactor and there are two central disposal facilities for radioactive waste. Disposal facilities for radioactive waste are also situated in the surroundings of the NPPs. Switzerland’s four NPPs have a total capacity of 2.9 GW, and an annual availability rate of approximately 86%.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
BEZNAU-1 PWR 365 Operational Axpo AG WH 9/1/1965 6/30/1969 7/17/1969 12/9/1969 87.0
BEZNAU-2 PWR 365 Operational Axpo AG WH 1/1/1968 10/16/1971 10/23/1971 3/4/1972 92.8
GOESGEN PWR 1010 Operational KKG KWU 12/1/1973 1/20/1979 2/2/1979 11/1/1979 94.5
LEIBSTADT BWR 1220 Operational KKL GETSCO 1/1/1974 3/9/1984 5/24/1984 12/15/1984 86.0
LUCENS HWGCR 6 Permanent Shutdown EOS NGA 4/1/1962 12/29/1966 1/29/1968 1/21/1969
MUEHLEBERG BWR 373 Permanent Shutdown BKW GETSCO 3/1/1967 3/8/1971 7/1/1971 11/6/1972 12/20/2019
Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.

2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals

Over the past few decades, all of Switzerland’s NPPs have upgraded their power capacity. At the end of 2012, the nominal net powers were two times 365 MW(e) for the Beznau NPP, 373 MW(e) for the Mühleberg NPP, 985 MW(e) for the Gösgen NPP and 1120 MW(e) for the Leibstadt NPP.

The NPPs Beznau (units 1 and 2), Gösgen and Leibstadt have unlimited operating licences. In December 2009, DETEC granted an unlimited operating licence for the operator of Mühleberg. This decision was appealed and subsequently approved by the Federal Supreme Court in March 2013. As a result, the operator of Mühleberg NPP and hence all Swiss NPPs have unlimited operating licences.


2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy

In 2007, the Government announced a new energy policy which included renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy foreign policy and new large scale power stations, including the replacement of the existing NPPs. In 2008, the three big electricity companies, Alpiq, Axpo and BKW, submitted general licence applications for three new nuclear units at Gösgen, Beznau and Mühleberg, all three on existing nuclear sites (see Section 2.3.5 for more information on these applications).

Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP in Japan, the head of DETEC suspended the licensing procedure for the new Swiss NPPs. The decision was taken on 14 March 2011.

Following this, ENSI immediately started carrying out a safety review of the existing NPPs. According to an ENSI ordinance, Switzerland’s NPPs had to participate in the European Union stress tests. The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) in charge of this peer review process stated in the final report for Switzerland: “In general, the design and further development of the plants are based on the ‘defence in depth’ concept and in consequence results in good robustness of the plants against severe accidents”. ENSREG recommended “that the regulator assesses the opportunity of requiring more reliance on passive systems for hydrogen management for severe accident conditions,” and “that the regulator considers further studies on the hydrogen management for the venting systems”. Based on the reviews carried out so far, several measures have been taken to optimize safety and security, included in the post-Fukushima action plan. This plan foresees that 45 open points will be dealt with through 2015. The measures were implemented to the greatest extent possible and the action plan is now complete.

Switzerland took part, on a voluntary basis, in the first ENSREG Topical Peer Review (TPR) process, which started in 2017 based on the European Union Nuclear Safety Directive 2014/87/EURATOM. This first TPR focused on the overall ageing management programme (AMP) as well as some specific ageing supervision programmes implemented in NPPs and in research reactors above 1 MW(th) (not relevant for Switzerland). In the first phase of the review, national self-assessments comprising a description and assessment of AMPs were conducted and the results were documented in national assessment reports published at the end of 2017. The second phase started in January 2018 when the national assessment reports were made available for questions and comments from stakeholders. The self-assessments, questions from stakeholders, and the participating countries’ responses were discussed during a one-week workshop in May 2018. The identified generic and country specific findings on AMPs were compiled by ENSREG and published in October 2018 to provide input for national action plans. The TPR report confirmed that Switzerland’s NPPs have implemented effective AMPs. The TPR Board defined categories for evaluating different aspects within AMPs: ‘good practice’ (an aspect of ageing management which is considered to go beyond what is required in meeting the appropriate international standard), ‘good performance/TPR expected level of performance’ (level of performance that should be reached to ensure consistent and acceptable management of ageing throughout Europe), and ‘area for improvement’. In addition, challenges which are common to many or all countries were identified. Switzerland was issued a number of good practices and areas of improvement.

The owners and operators of NPPs are responsible for fuel cycle planning and decision making. They make contracts in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. The strategy chosen by the NPP operators included the reprocessing and storage of spent fuel, the latter with a view to later reprocessing or direct disposal. The reprocessing took place abroad (France and United Kingdom). Plutonium and uranium gained from reprocessing was used for fuel fabrication and was reused in Switzerland’s NPPs. All radioactive waste arising from reprocessing has been returned to Switzerland. With the new Energy Strategy 2050, spent fuel must be disposed of as radioactive waste and may not reprocessed.

In accordance with the ‘polluter pays principle’, producers of radioactive waste in Switzerland are responsible for ensuring its safe disposal at their own cost. The various ongoing costs (e.g. studies carried out by Nagra, construction of interim storage sites, site selection procedures for deep geological repositories) have to be paid as they arise. Decommissioning costs and expenditures associated with the management (including disposal) of radioactive waste after an NPP has been closed down are secured through contributions paid into two independent funds by the operator — the decommissioning fund and the waste disposal fund. The Nuclear Energy Act and the Ordinance on the Decommissioning Fund and the Waste Disposal Fund (SR 732.17, 7 December 2007) form the legal basis for these two funds. More information can be found at www.stilllegungsfonds.ch and www.entsorgungsfonds.ch.

2.3.2. Project management

Licensing procedures are divided into three stages: (i) the general licence procedure; (ii) the construction licence procedure; and (iii) the operating licence procedure.

The Federal Council is the executive branch of the Government, consisting of seven members elected by the United Federal Assembly for a four year term. It is responsible for decision making with regard to the application for a general licence. Any decision of the Federal Council is brought before Parliament. Resolutions by the Federal Assembly concerning the approval of general licences are subject to an optional national referendum.

DETEC is responsible for decision making with regard to applications for construction and operating licences. Its decisions can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court, and at a later stage to the Federal Supreme Court.

SFOE has the lead on all three authorization procedures. SFOE employs almost 250 staff members. As of the beginning of March 2018, SFOE comprises six divisions and two operational sections.

ENSI is the national regulatory body with responsibility for the nuclear safety and security of Switzerland’s nuclear facilities. In the licensing procedures it is also responsible for safety related examination and assessment of nuclear facilities. Most of ENSI’s expenses are covered by fees, which licence holders have to pay to the Government. ENSI currently employs around 140 staff members, including physicists, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, geologists, chemists, biologists and psychologists, in addition to technical and administrative personnel.

Other public entities involved in the authorization procedures are the Federal Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), the Federal Office for the Environment, the Federal Office for Spatial Development and the cantons.

2.3.3. Project funding

No Government financial support has been granted for the construction of new NPPs. Some public entities such as the cantons nevertheless have considerable shares of some of the relevant companies.

2.3.4. Electric grid development

The transmission and distribution networks for electricity need to be modernized and expanded. To cope with the increasing fluctuations in electricity production (e.g. wind and photovoltaic), electricity systems must become more flexible. The continuous balance between production and consumption needs to be guaranteed under increasingly dynamic conditions, and grids need to become more automated; smart grids offer one possible solution to these challenges.

Switzerland is closely integrated into the European electricity system. A close integration of markets is of mutual benefit to Switzerland and its neighbouring countries with respect to security of supply. In addition to the Energy Strategy 2050, there is a further national strategy for energy networks in place, including aspects of international integration, which will be defined to this end. This strategy will also include measures to accelerate the approval process and address aspects concerning the costs of grid expansion and renovation as well as the development of electricity grids towards smart grids.

2.3.5. Sites

On 9 June 2008, Kernkraftwerk Niederamt AG, a subsidiary of Atel Holding AG (now known as Alpiq Holding AG), submitted an application to the SFOE for a general licence for an NPP with a maximum output of 1600 MW. The plan was for the new facility to be constructed in Niederamt (canton of Solothurn), near the existing Gösgen NPP.

On 4 December 2008, on behalf of Axpo Holding AG and BKW FMB Energie AG, respectively, Ersatz Kernkraftwerk Beznau AG and Ersatz Kernkraftwerk Mühleberg AG each submitted an application to the SFOE for a general licence for the construction of new NPPs to replace the existing Beznau I, Beznau II and Mühleberg facilities. The plan was for these new NPPs, each with a maximum output of 1600 MW, to be constructed at the locations of the existing facilities, namely in Beznau (canton of Aargau) and Mühleberg (canton of Bern).

All three applications have been examined in detail by ENSI. The NSC stated that ENSI delivered an in-depth safety review. The NSC has also made a number of recommendations.

All three applications were suspended in March 2011. In October 2016, the applicants withdrew their applications, and on 14 November 2016 DETEC dismissed the general licence procedures.


There are currently no organizations involved in the operation of NPPs.


The following organizations operate an NPP:

  • Kernkraftwerk Gösgen–Däniken AG (KKG AG);

  • Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG (KKL AG);

  • Axpo AG.

Major Switzerland based vendors and supporting organizations include the following:

  • ABB AG;

  • Alstom AG;

  • AF-Colenco AG;

  • CCI Schweiz AG.

More information can be found at www.nuclearindustry.ch.


NPP Mühleberg is under decommissioning.


2.7.1. Fuel supply

Switzerland has no domestic nuclear fuel cycle industry. Enrichment is provided by the United States of America and European Union Member States. The fuel elements are manufactured in the United States of America or by European Union Member States.

2.7.2. Legal framework

In 2003, Parliament decided to introduce a ten year moratorium on the export of spent fuel for reprocessing, which started in July 2006. Before the start of the moratorium, utilities were free to choose between reprocessing and direct disposal of the spent fuel. The Nuclear Energy Act states a series of conditions which must be fulfilled for an authorization of the export of spent fuel for reprocessing to be granted. The conditions include an agreement with the country of destination, the existence in that country of an adequate facility corresponding to international standards and the fact that the country of destination has ratified the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and the Joint Convention. The new Energy Strategy 2050 fully forbids reprocessing since 1 January 2018.

The management (handling and storage) of radioactive waste is governed by the provisions of the Nuclear Energy Act and the Nuclear Energy Ordinance, both of which entered into force on 1 February 2005. The management of radioactive waste originating from medicine, industry and research is governed by the Radiological Protection Act and the Radiological Protection Ordinance, both of which entered into force on 1 October 1994. The Radiological Protection Ordinance was fully revised and entered into force on 1 January 2018.

All radioactive waste is to undergo storage in repositories situated in suitable geological formations; near surface disposal is not allowed. Since no repository is yet available, all radioactive waste is stored in interim storage facilities.

2.7.3. Storage facilities

At present, the following spent fuel and radioactive waste management facilities exist in Switzerland:

  1. NPPs: All of Switzerland’s NPPs have on-site installations for the conditioning and storage of their own operational waste.

  2. ZZL Central Storage Facility: This facility, operated by ZWILAG, in Würenlingen, comprises an interim storage facility for spent fuel and all kinds of radioactive waste, conditioning installations and a plasma furnace for melting and incineration of low level waste.

  3. Separate storage facility ZWIBEZ at Beznau NPP: It consists of a hall for low level operational waste and a hall for the dry storage of spent fuel.

  4. Wet storage facility at Gösgen NPP: This storage facility is an additional spent fuel pond on the site of the Gösgen NPP. It is intended for independent operation over several years after the future shutdown of the Gösgen NPP.

  5. National Collection Centre and Federal Storage Facility: These installations for radioactive waste from medicine, industry and research are operated by PSI, in Würenlingen.

2.7.4. Deep geological repositories and site selection process

The responsibility for radioactive waste management lies with the waste producers. Legislation requires that radioactive waste produced in Switzerland be disposed of in Switzerland. The disposal of radioactive waste within the framework of a bilateral or multilateral project is theoretically kept as an option, but it is not actively pursued.

Two repositories are proposed, one for LILW and one for HLW and spent fuel. It is also possible to implement the two facilities at the same site as a so-called combined repository, using partly the same infrastructure on the surface and for access to the separate disposal facilities underground. The site selection process must follow a sectoral plan procedure within the framework of spatial planning legislation. The site selection process, according to the sectoral plan procedure for deep geological repositories, was started with the promulgation of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories on 2 April 2008 by the Federal Council. It will last around 20 years and lead to a decision of the Federal Council about the issuance of general licences for the repositories.

Site selection is based on scientific and technical criteria, with the main emphasis on safety, but socioeconomic and environmental aspects must also be addressed in the process. The SFOE is responsible for leading the site selection procedure, which allows the coordination of a broad range of actors and their interests. The site selection procedure is divided into three stages.

For Stage 1 of the site selection process, Nagra submitted its proposals for suitable geological siting areas for the repositories for HLW and LILW to the SFOE on 17 October 2008. ENSI reviewed Nagra’s entire documentation and, in conclusion, approved the six geological siting areas proposed for LILW: Jura Ost (canton of Aargau), Jura-Südfuss (cantons of Solothurn and Aargau), Nördlich Lägern (cantons of Zurich and Aargau), Südranden (canton of Schaffhausen), Wellenberg (cantons of Nidwalden and Obwalden) and Zürich Nordost (cantons of Zurich and Thurgau). All these sites have clay rich sediments as potential host rocks. These include the Opalinus Clay, the Brauner Dogger, the Effingen Beds and the marl formations of the Helveticum.

ENSI also approved the three geological siting areas proposed for HLW: Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost. All the potential HLW sites have Opalinus Clay as host rock. ENSI’s review has been commented on by the NSC.

Public consultation was carried out in 2010 by the SFOE, which compiled the comments and submitted a report to the Government. The Government approved all six potential siting regions (see Fig. 3) on 30 November 2011, thus concluding the first stage of the site selection process and initiating the second stage.

FIG. 3. Radioactive waste: nuclear installations and potential areas for deep geological repositories.

The goal of Stage 2 was to reduce the number of siting regions to at least two per waste category for LILW and HLW. In 2015, Nagra proposed the siting areas Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost both for LILW and HLW for further detailed investigations in Stage 3. After a thorough review of Nagra’s proposal, the federal safety authorities (ENSI and NSC) and their experts concluded that a third siting region — Nördlich Lägern — should also be investigated in Stage 3.

From Stage 2 on, intensive stakeholder involvement took place through regional conferences, especially with regard to the placement of surface facilities in each siting region. Several proposals by Nagra and further options were discussed by the regional conferences. Based on the results of these discussions Nagra was able to designate one or two sites for surface facilities in each region. Broad public consultation on Stage 2 started on 23 November 2017 and lasted until 8 March 2018. Following this, the SFOE submitted a report to the Federal Council. The Federal Council decided on 21 November 2018 that the three potential siting regions, Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost, shall be investigated further, thus concluding the second stage of the site selection process and initiating the third stage.

In the ongoing Stage 3, the remaining three siting regions are being investigated in more detail mainly through 3-D seismics and deep and shallow boreholes. Around 2022 Nagra will announce one or two sites for the elaboration of a general license application depending on whether one combined or two separate repositories for LILW and HLW are proposed.

The various aspects of the surface facility infrastructure will be discussed in greater detail at the regional conferences. Socioeconomic studies are being continued and monitoring has been implemented.

By the end of 2024, the implementer, Nagra, will submit applications for a general licence (one for an HLW repository and one for an LILW repository or a single one in case of a combined repository). The decision of the Federal Council is expected in 2029 and Parliament’s decision concerning the Government’s approval of the general licence for deep geological repositories is expected around 2030. That decision is subject to an optional national referendum around 2031.

After the granting of the general licence, a licence for the construction and operation of an underground facility for geological investigations is required. After the underground investigations, applications for a construction licence and for an operating licence for each repository will follow; both will be granted by the relevant federal department. According to the current schedule, the LILW repository should be operational around 2050 and the HLW repository around 2060.


2.8.1. R&D organizations

The institutions of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), especially PSI, ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), are the largest research centres for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. At PSI, approximately 1200 scientists, including around 160 postdoctoral and 220 PhD students (2020 data), perform high level research on a large variety of scientific questions that can be grouped into three main fields: matter and materials, human health, and energy and the environment. At ETH Zurich, around 100 professors work in energy research, including around 600 postdoctoral and PhD students. By conducting fundamental and applied research, these institutions work on long term solutions for major challenges facing society, industry and science.

PSI operates several large scale facilities that allow experiments to be performed that would be impossible in smaller laboratories. The facilities are unique in Switzerland, and some of them are the only ones of their type or scale in the world. The institute provides access to the facilities within the framework of a user service to researchers from universities, other research centres and industrial companies. Each year, about 2500 researchers perform experiments at the facilities.

The Swiss Plasma Center (SPC) at EPFL was created in 2015 to follow up the mission of the Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas and reinforces the international influence and impact of Switzerland in plasma and fusion research. The state of the art infrastructures that are currently being developed, focusing on the variable configuration tokamak (TCV), enable EPFL to fulfil its obligations on the way to fusion energy in the broader context of Europe, the Euratom research and training programme, and ITER. TCV is one of the three medium sized infrastructures selected by the EUROfusion consortium to implement the European Research Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy in the frame of the Euratom European joint programme in fusion research. The importance of Switzerland’s fusion research has been acknowledged both nationally, with the ETH Board strongly supporting these developments with additional ad hoc financial support of CHF 10 million for the period 2017–2020, and internationally, with the election of SPC Director, Prof. Ambrogio Fasoli, to the Chairmanship of the EUROfusion General Assembly for 2019 and 2020.

The SPC includes at present about approximately 100 staff and 40 graduate students. It contributes to the ITER project via contracts with the ITER International Organization and the European Union’s Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (Fusion for Energy (F4E)), by strengthening the participation of Switzerland’s industry in the procurement of important components, and, naturally, by advancing the ITER physics basis and optimizing its chances of success via experimentation in its own facilities, in particular the TCV. Energy and the environment

The goal of energy research in Switzerland is the development of technologies for sustainable deployment, transportation, storage and use of energy. This includes environmentally friendly energy harvesting, the development of renewable energy sources, and efficient energy storage, as well as socioeconomic aspects. In addition, technologies are investigated which will contribute to the safe use of nuclear energy. Environmental research is concentrated on the study of processes taking place in the atmosphere. Comprehensive assessment of the economic, ecological and environmental performance of current and future energy supply technologies provides support for decision making.

To integrate higher shares of fluctuating energy production (i.e. solar and wind), development of new energy storage methods is critical as well as aspects of system integration (e.g. transmission systems, smart grids). In order to test, further develop and optimize different energy storage methods, PSI operates the Energy System Integration Platform. This facility offers research and industry an experimental platform where promising approaches can be tested in all their complex connections and interrelations. New ideas for energy conversion can be tested on a small scale, and their potential for industrial use can be realistically evaluated. ETH Zurich, in collaboration with PSI and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), developed the Renewable Energy Management and Real-time Control Platform, which allows for research and development on the integration of renewable energy sources as well as new system components such as advanced control mechanisms or storage technologies. Nuclear energy research

About 8% of PSI’s annual government funding of CHF 300 million is dedicated to nuclear energy research (budget 2019 data). PSI’s government funded nuclear energy research activities have been strongly reduced over the past two decades. This reduction was partly compensated by increasing external funding. The current staffing quota per year amounts to 150 person years (plus about 30 postdoctoral and 50 PhD students). More than 55% of the overall direct costs of nuclear energy research are externally funded by Switzerland’s NPP operators, Nagra, ENSI, the Swiss National Science Foundation and other national and, in particular, international agencies (including the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA)). A large part of this support is for long term research contracts. Almost 70% of the nuclear energy research at PSI focuses on reactor safety and safety related operational aspects of Swiss NPPs, and around 25% on nuclear waste disposal. Only around 6% of the resources are dedicated to future reactor concepts and their safety features, which rely on inherent safety mechanisms and on passive system layouts which are investigated (to some extent through an active partnership of PSI in the Generation IV International Forum).

The main objectives of nuclear energy research carried out in the Nuclear Energy and Safety (NES) research division at PSI are as follows:

• To foster nuclear education by substantially contributing to the Swiss Nuclear Master Programme and other programmes (PSI/EPFL/ETH Zurich);

• To contribute to the safe and economic operation of the existing NPPs in Switzerland and to the safe geological storage of radioactive waste by reinforcing the scientific bases of the technologies in the appropriate areas;

• To secure standby functionality in key areas, particularly those requiring the services of a hot laboratory, in which large amounts of radioactive material, in particular spent fuel rods, can be handled and investigated;

• To provide inputs to stakeholders for decision making purposes;

• To look for opportunities to apply NES expertise in sectors other than nuclear, and in its role as an international technical safety organization;

• To train young nuclear specialists over a broad spectrum of disciplines, including those with experience of other energy systems.

The NES department is structured into six research laboratories according to their specific scientific and technical areas of competence; an additional department operates the Hot Laboratory (Hot Lab), the only one in Switzerland, and one of the few remaining of its kind in all of Europe.

In addition, the PSI academy, which includes the School for Radioprotection, offers education and training programmes for radioprotection experts or scientists and technicians working with radioisotopes.

The following sections provide a brief description of the programmes currently carried out within the NES department.

(a) Reactor technology

The STARS programme is a long standing project aimed at the development, maintenance and application of a complex code and database system to be used for investigations into the core and system behaviour of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors. Focus areas include combined system transient and uncertainty analysis, reactor core and fuel modelling, as well as neutronics.

The main focus in the Human Reliability Assessment (HRA, risk and human reliability) concerns resolution of current and emerging issues associated with the treatment of human factors in the context of a probabilistic safety assessment. Examples of currently investigated topics include the development of HRA methods, quantification of errors of commission/omission, application of simulator data, and creation of a technical basis for seismic HRA and flooding hazards.

The Nuclear Fuels programme involves microstructural/micromechanical examination of the ageing of core internals (fuel rods and structural materials), and the development of associated theoretical models. In particular, fuel rod behaviour under service but also under long term dry storage conditions are investigated and possible causes of failure are evaluated.

The Component Safety programme (INTEGER) involves the experimental characterization of important ageing mechanisms (stress corrosion cracking, thermal fatigue and irradiation embrittlement) in primary pressure boundary components, the development and validation of advanced mechanistic material ageing models and probabilistic methods for improved integrity assessments and lifetime predictions, as well as the evaluation of advanced non-destructive techniques for the early detection of fatigue and stress corrosion crack initiation and for the characterization of the actual degree of embrittlement in components.

The containment phenomenology during postulated severe accidents is further carried out by participation in the project Hydrogen Mitigation Experiments for Reactor Safety (HYMERES) Project Phase 2 (OECD/NEA). Its main objective is to improve basic understanding of complex thermohydraulic processes and to extend the experimental database to phenomenology not investigated previously. The experiments are carried out at PSI in the PANDA facility (a large scale, multicompartmental thermohydraulic facility suited for investigations related to the safety of current and advanced LWRs).

The Source-Term Evaluation programme activities are centred around several smaller scale experimental facilities, which reproduce aerosol deposition behaviour during a severe accident (e.g. following a postulated steam generator tube rupture). Specifically, the retention of iodine during beyond design basis accidents in nuclear power plants is being investigated, both for inorganic and organic speciation. For the purpose of studying two phase flow hydrodynamics in water pools, and application of the hydrodynamics to the pool scrubbing models, the TRISTAN facility has been adapted and instrumented to the geometry of the wet scrubber pool and other geometries of interest.

General considerations of iodine chemistry are being investigated, with specific application to NPPs. The experimental programme is balanced by the development and validation of numerical models, the overall theme being aimed at replacing the existing empirical models by mechanistic modelling using computational fluid dynamics. All activities are directed towards source term evaluation relevant to Switzerland’s NPPs.

(b) Waste management

The programme is an ongoing commitment, overseen by the Government, to ensure the safe disposal of radioactive waste from the medical and nuclear industries, as well as various research facilities. PSI develops and applies holistic descriptions of radionuclide transport and sorption processes as well as interface reactions and their up-scaling in particular with respect to clay as host material. The research programme is closely connected to the Swiss Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories, which is under the responsibility of Nagra as the implementing organization. The sectoral plan is expected to come to a conclusion around 2030 with the public referendum for approval of site locations(s) for the underground repository for radioactive waste.

The data and models developed in the Laboratory for Waste Management provide an important contribution to the scientific basis for the safety assessment of deep geological disposal systems for the Swiss national radioactive waste disposal programme. Assuming that the proposed geological site will be approved by the government and supported at the national referendum, the Swiss Waste Disposal programme will enter the construction phase. At this phase, the implementer has to conduct in situ tests in the underground pilot facility and to perform studies for the optimization of the repository design with respect to costs and safety. Therefore, one of the long term goals of PSI is to preserve and further develop the necessary competences to support the construction phase. The entire R&D programme is carried out in close cooperation with Nagra.

(c) Energy systems analysis

At PSI, these activities are carried out within the Laboratory for Energy System Analysis (LEA), which is an interdisciplinary laboratory supporting both the NES and the Energy and Environment Division. The laboratory aims at contributing to effective decision making on long term technology strategies in energy supply and demand by ensuring the full integration of major environmental, economic and social factors. The LEA also develops methodologies, and carries out the associated risk analyses, with a focus on HRA.

The Technology Assessment programme involves comprehensive analyses of environmental, economic and risk performance of fossil, nuclear and renewable energy technologies as well as of a wide spectrum of mobility options. It is based on an interdisciplinary framework, thus enabling consistent comparisons to be made between current and future options for the electricity, heating and transport sectors.

In the Energy Economics programme, energy system models are developed and quantitative analyses are carried out on the national, European and global levels to improve the understanding of the interactions among energy, economics, the environment and technology. The generated long term scenarios of energy systems enable examination of the associated energy–technology strategies and the impact of related policy instruments.

At ETH Zurich, more than 60 laboratories are organized within the Energy Science Center (ESC) to conduct research in areas such as advanced energy technologies including renewable energy sources, energy system integration, energy economics and the built environment.

The ESC also runs the large energy system analysis platform ‘Nexus-e’ in order to assess scenarios of future energy systems with a focus on the electricity system in Europe. It incorporates both bottom up engineering based modelling approaches as well as top down macroeconomic modules. It is also capable of assessing the resilience and security of supply of future energy supply scenarios.

(d) Hot Laboratory

The Hot Lab, the largest nuclear research facility in Switzerland, is under the supervision of ENSI according to the Swiss nuclear law, and is the only research facility in Switzerland capable of examining large quantities of radioactive material, in particular spent fuel rods. The two main tasks of the Hot Laboratory Division (AHL), the operating organization unit, are to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the Hot Lab infrastructure and to conduct state of the art service work for Switzerland’s nuclear industry. Accordingly, AHL offers Hot Lab users (i.e. research groups from other units) modern analytical tools for the manipulation and investigation of radioactive material. In particular, the laboratory is well equipped for structural and chemical analyses of the materials used in NPPs and accelerator facilities.

2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear power technologies Research on future reactors (Generation III and IV) at the Paul Scherrer Institute

Switzerland is a signatory and member of the Generation IV International Forum, providing PSI with the mandate to continue participating in studies on waste minimization strategies and safety assessments for advanced reactor concepts. The involvement with Generation IV reactor concepts includes activities related to high temperature materials for very high temperature reactors (VHTRs) and gas cooled fast reactors (GFRs), and safety studies with respect to the European Sodium Cooled Fast Reactor (ESFR) (in close cooperation with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)).

In November 2015, Switzerland joined the Generation IV International Forum Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) Project, with partners like Euratom (represented by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre), France (represented by CEA) and the Russian Federation (represented by ROSATOM) in their collaborative efforts to develop this promising Generation IV system. All of these Generation IV related activities offer attractive opportunities for innovative research especially important for keeping young researchers in the field. At the same time, it allows Switzerland to closely monitor the international progress of reactor technology towards more sustainable nuclear energy.

Specific programmes at PSI include the FAST programme (fast spectrum core and safety analysis with emphasis on generic developments and Generation IV systems), with activities aiming at the development and implementation of a code system representing state of the art safety analyses of nuclear systems featuring fast neutron spectra. The focus in previous years has been primarily on safety aspects (e.g. sodium boiling and void effects) of sodium cooled fast reactors (SFRs), and fuel cycle studies for molten salt reactors (MSRs). Another activity involves the characterization and modelling of materials to be used in future Generation IV reactors (particularly gas cooled reactors), that will be subject to significantly higher temperatures and a more intense radiation environment than in current Generation II reactors.

Mainly through the SPC, Switzerland has participated in international projects in the field of plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion for the past 25 years, primarily in a European context. In participating in the research programmes of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), Swiss research on fusion has focused on its primary skills, and Switzerland is seen as an important partner at the European level. As a full member of F4E, Switzerland participates indirectly in the international organization ITER, which has been tasked with conducting a decisive experiment for determining the viability of nuclear fusion as a clean and safe source of energy. Radiochemistry

The Laboratory of Radiochemistry (LRC) focuses on fundamental research and on education in the field of radiochemistry. The topics studied within LRC cover a wide and diverse range of radiochemical research, including studies on the chemistry of super heavy elements, harvesting exotic radionuclides from irradiated accelerator components for use in fundamental research, developing innovative radiopharmaceuticals and the chemical behaviour of radionuclides in liquid metals proposed as target material or coolant in future nuclear facilities. Scientific computing and modelling

A new laboratory for Scientific Computing and Modeling (LSM), concentrating different groups that are active in the modelling of complex, multiscale processes was created as a joint venture of several research divisions at PSI, in an effort to enable both applied and basic curiosity driven research in theory, simulation and modelling. The main research objectives of LSM are, in addition to the support of the multiscale multiphysics nuclear modelling activities, anchored in formulating and understanding large scale experiments done at PSI. With the advent of the SwissFEL and the plans for Swiss Light Source (SLS) 2.0, support for photon science research at PSI has become of strategic importance for LSM.

The main goal of this laboratory is to offer a centre of excellence for the development of high end tools for numerical simulations and visualization of complex physical phenomena using the high performance computing resources available in Switzerland. In particular, further development of computational fluid dynamics and the simulation of advanced nuclear systems are being realized in this laboratory. Research at the Federal Institutes of Technology

Small research groups are operative at both EPFL and ETH Zurich. Their work is closely linked to the activities of the department of Nuclear Energy and Safety of PSI or complements them. This is an important contribution to the academic education offered by the Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme. The research is mainly accomplished by PhD students from the doctorate programmes of both schools. At EPFL, the main focus is on neutron noise analysis, nuclear data evaluation, neutron transport code validation and radiation detector development; at ETH Zurich it is mainly on thermohydraulics of LWRs, basics of two phase flows, computational fluid dynamic code validation and advanced instrumentation for fluid dynamic experiments. Research programme of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate

ENSI operates its Regulatory Safety Research programme in order to support its supervisory activities. The programme covers reactor safety, radiation protection and waste disposal. It comprises around 40 projects and a budget of about CHF 6 million per year. The projects are conducted by partners in Switzerland (mainly PSI, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich and EPFL), the Swiss Seismological Service and universities), by international organizations and research institutions abroad, and, to a smaller degree, by ENSI itself.

Projects in the ENSI research programme seek to clarify outstanding issues, establish fundamentals and develop the tools that ENSI requires to discharge its responsibilities. The projects also foster the skills needed for regulatory activities and encourage the development of independent expertise. Finally, international projects deliver results that Switzerland could not achieve on its own and at the same time encourage international networking. These are the main objectives of ENSI’s research strategy. The Regulatory Safety Research programme covers the following seven subject areas:

  1. The fuel and materials sector covers the reactor core and successive barriers used to contain the radioactive materials. Research into fuels is particularly concerned with high burnup rates and behaviour in accident scenarios. Research into structural materials focuses on ageing processes.

  2. Projects conducted under the auspices of the OECD/NEA and relating to internal events and damage encourage the international exchange of experience on incidents, accidents and component damage that can trigger accidents or affect them adversely. Subject specific databases are created for this purpose and used to facilitate the systematic analysis of operating experience from many countries.

  3. ENSI supports research projects addressing external events such as earthquakes, flooding and aircraft crashes. They provide results supporting probabilistic and deterministic aspects of safety assessments.

  4. The influence of operator actions on incidents and accidents in nuclear power plants is the most important human factor under consideration. The emphasis is on identification and assessment of operator errors that have a negative effect on incidents and accidents, and there is also research into operator behaviour in extreme situations. The results are used for the benefit of probabilistic safety analyses and emergency operating procedures.

  5. System behaviour and accident sequences in nuclear power plants are analysed in various conditions ranging from normal operation through to accidents involving core meltdown. This entails creating computer models and validating them by carrying out experiments. These are also used as a basis for quantitative identification of plant risk in probabilistic safety analyses.

  6. Research activities in the field of radiological protection include radiation measurement techniques, aerial radiometrics (airborne measurement of radioactivity on the ground) and developing new radionuclide analysis methods. Involvement in the development of international standards contributes to cross-border harmonization of corresponding methods.

  7. Research into waste management covers not only deep geological disposal, but also preceding processes such as transport and interim storage of radioactive waste. ENSI is supporting projects on long term dry storage of fuel elements. A number of experiments on deep geological disposal are conducted in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory (canton of Jura), covering subjects such as fracture behaviour at faults, self-sealing capacity and gas transfer in the Opalinus Clay, but also extending to the effectiveness of technical barriers. In addition, ENSI promotes research into long term landscape denudation.

2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives

Euratom was established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome. In 1978, Switzerland and Euratom signed a cooperation agreement in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion and plasma physics. Based on this agreement, Switzerland participates in the European effort to develop sustained fusion power. This effort includes participation in the operation of the Joint European Torus and other international activities relating to plasma and materials research.

Since 2004, Switzerland has been fully associated with the sixth and seventh framework programmes of Euratom, as well as with the Horizon 2020 programme. This has enabled Switzerland to extend its cooperation with Euratom to the fields of general research in the fission domain and the nuclear activities of the Joint Research Centre.

In 2007, Switzerland joined F4E as a full member, contributing indirectly to the realization of ITER as do European Union Member States.

Since 2014, Switzerland’s association with the European research framework programme Horizon 2020 and the Euratom research and training programme, as well as the financial aspects of its participation in F4E, have been ruled by a single multi-programme agreement covering the period 2014–2020. This agreement superseded the above mentioned 1978 agreement.

Participation in Euratom, F4E, OECD/NEA and IAEA coordinated research and development activities is a crucial component of Switzerland’s nuclear research, for maintaining an active voice in the debate on nuclear research directions and priorities pursued by neighbouring countries, as well as the development of new knowledge and competences that serve the long term societal, environmental and economic interests of Switzerland. It is also an important sign to the European Commission and European partners that Switzerland is committed to the further improvement of nuclear safety. Participation in Euratom and OECD/NEA research projects helps Switzerland to maintain and keep up to date critical large infrastructure like the Hot Lab and the PANDA facility at PSI. One of the most recent activities (since the autumn of 2019) is Switzerland’s support for the Nuclear Education, Skills, and Technologies (NEST) initiative of the OECD/NEA, in which PSI opens its PANDA experimental facility to promising nuclear engineers and scientists for educational and training purposes.

ENSI supports research into nuclear safety and is represented on more than 70 international commissions and specialist groups working in the field of nuclear safety. It thereby makes an active contribution to new international safety guidelines. Through its network of contacts, ENSI is in touch with current developments in science and technology and discharges its regulatory remit on the basis of global experience in nuclear energy. Since 2011, ENSI has chaired the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA). In 2013, ENSI submitted a proposal to amend the CNS to the IAEA in Vienna. The proposal aimed to make the backfitting of existing nuclear installations a legally binding obligation within the CNS. The endeavour proved successful and the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety (VDNS) was adopted at a CNS diplomatic conference in 2015. With this declaration, CNS Contracting Parties are committed to implementing the principles enshrined in the VDNS and regularly reporting on their implementation at CNS review meetings.

In the field of radioactive waste management, international research programmes are carried out in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory. It lies near St. Ursanne in the canton of Jura, where the Opalinus Clay, an indurated claystone formation of the Lower Jurassic period, is investigated. The operator of the rock laboratory is the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo). In Switzerland, there are two further rock laboratories. One is the Grimsel Test Site (GTS) (canton of Bern) operated by Nagra, where crystalline rocks are investigated. The other is the Bedretto rock laboratory (canton of Ticino), operated by ETH, where geothermal research in crystalline rock is carried out.

The Mont Terri Rock Laboratory provides a platform for international collaboration and the exchange of know-how among researchers, technicians, engineers and scientists. Swisstopo operates the rock laboratory and runs the Mont Terri Project. Today, 22 organizations from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America are involved in the underground research project. Other countries are also considering argillaceous rocks like Opalinus Clay as possible host rocks for deep geological disposal. From 1996 to 2020, the allocated investments in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory amounted to CHF 96.1 million. Swiss partners ENSI, Nagra, ETH (partner since 2019) and swisstopo contributed 44% and the other partners 56%.

The Mont Terri Rock Laboratory serves research purposes only. There is no question of disposing radioactive waste there, on the one hand, for geological reasons (folded Jura Mountains, where the Opalinus Clay is tectonised) and, on the other hand, because the disposal of any such waste is excluded by the contractual agreement with the canton of Jura. In the framework of Switzerland’s sectoral plan, the Opalinus Clay has been chosen and confirmed as host rock for low level and high level waste (future disposal sites are proposed in the cantons of Aargau, Zurich and Thurgau). This has greatly increased the importance of the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory, particularly for Nagra as implementer and ENSI as safety authority.

The Mont Terri Rock Laboratory started operations in 1996 and for the first 15 years research was mainly focused on methodology development, host rock characterization and demonstration experiments. The main question was how to safely contain radioactive waste in claystone over long periods of time. In 2011, a new research area was added: Opalinus Clay as sealing (cap) rock for CO2 sequestration. Here Switzerland is investigating whether the Opalinus Clay prevents possible migration of CO2 stored underground.

GTS was established in 1984 as a centre for underground R&D supporting a wide range of research projects on the disposal of radioactive waste. It is located at an altitude of 1730 m above sea level in the granitic formations of the Aar Massif. Twenty-one partner organizations from 12 countries (from Europe, Asia and North America) and the European Union, as well as universities, research institutes and consulting companies from various countries, are involved in the projects at the test site (2018 data).

Similar to Mont Terri, GTS is a research facility and not a potential repository site; although investigations may utilize a wide range of radioactive tracers, no radioactive waste will be disposed of at GTS. Therefore, a unique characteristic of GTS among existing rock laboratories worldwide is the existence of a radiation controlled zone (IAEA Level B/C) in one of the investigation tunnels, which allows experiments to be carried out with radioactive tracers in the geosphere under realistic conditions. GTS, as an open underground research facility, also offers its services and infrastructure to non-radioactive waste related research activities such as geothermal or fundamental geoscientific and engineering disciplines.

In June 2019, EPFL became an IAEA collaborating centre in the fields of open source data and code development for nuclear applications. The EPFL Collaborating Centre’s objective will be to step beyond traditional development strategies, which are based on relatively old and often proprietary software and data. At the core of the centre’s activities will be the promotion of R&D work fostering the concepts of open source and shared development. This will boost R&D activities and contribute to safe operation of nuclear plants by increasing synergies, limiting inefficiencies, promoting networking and contributing to standardization.


A Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme is offered jointly by EPFL and ETH Zurich, two leading science and engineering universities in Europe, in order to qualify multidisciplinary professionals for industry, research and national authorities. PSI supports the programme by offering its research infrastructure for scientific projects by the students and by assisting in lecturing (for further information on human resources development at PSI refer to Section 2.8). The programme was launched in 2008 and lasts four semesters, compatible with European requirements which require 120 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. Areas covered include the safe and reliable operation of existing and new reactors, the development of novel reactor types, the sustainable supply of nuclear fuel, the closure of the fuel cycle, the disposal of radioactive waste, the decommissioning of NPPs, and many others. The curriculum provides in-depth knowledge of reactor physics, thermohydraulics and nuclear materials. It has been gradually extended by including courses and project opportunities related to non-energetic applications of nuclear techniques, such as medical diagnosis and therapy, and (since 2017) in decommissioning and dismantling. Currently, the Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme is secured for the predictable future. The recruitment process for the professorship of Nuclear Energy Systems at ETH Zurich after the retirement of the current professor in January 2021 has been completed, with the selection of an excellent female researcher.

A significant contribution to human resources comes furthermore from the doctorate programmes of the nuclear laboratories at EPFL and ETH Zurich. The PhD students are recruited partially from the groups of graduates of the Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme and partially from other domestic and foreign universities.

The small research reactor of the Institute of Physics of the University of Basel was shut down in 2013 and defuelled in 2015, with decommissioning scheduled to take place by 2020. The University of Basel was the only institution in Switzerland with an infrastructure for neutron activation analysis. The last remaining research reactor, CROCUS at EPFL, has become central for training nuclear engineers and competence preservation. Despite its limited power (100 W) it has been possible to identify a wide range of relevant research topics for CROCUS. A small plasma fusion neutron source for tomographic imaging that has been developed cooperatively by ETH Zurich and PSI is used mainly for educational purposes, as well.

The Nuclear Forum Switzerland published an updated overview of Switzerland’s human resources development in the field of nuclear energy (2019 data). It concluded that there are generally still enough academic personnel from the Master of Science programme for securing long term operation of existing nuclear power plants and other current requirements in Switzerland’s nuclear sector, although permanent efforts to maintain the existing levels are necessary. Special attention is required with regard to the education of nuclear professionals, where activities have to be strengthened to avoid bottlenecks.


Under the Nuclear Energy Act (art. 74), ENSI “shall regularly inform the general public about the condition of nuclear installations and any matters pertaining to nuclear goods and radioactive waste” and “shall inform the general public of any special occurrences”. In addition, ENSI is required to respond to questions from Parliament on nuclear safety and the work of the regulatory body. As a federal authority, ENSI is subject to the Federal Act on Freedom of Information in the Administration, according to which all ENSI documents are public, with a few exceptions, such as security related information, personal data or trade secrets.

The information services of ENSI go well beyond these legal requirements. It regularly provides direct information to the public. Its web site (www.ensi.ch) is an important information tool covering all aspects of nuclear safety in Switzerland in German and French, as well as some topics in Italian and English. It is accompanied by activities on social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube). ENSI is committed to objectivity and avoids any speculation or placation.

In addition to the annual reports, including the Regulatory Oversight Report, Research and Experience Report, Radiation Protection Report and Business Report, it publishes reports on current topics (e.g. earthquakes and disposal of radioactive waste). ENSI also publishes all the review reports generated by review meetings of conventions, review missions or topical peer reviews.

Other communication activities include responses to questions from non-governmental organizations and individuals as well as participation in public hearings, symposia and panel discussions on nuclear safety. ENSI regularly organizes meetings with stakeholders, irrespective of their stance on nuclear power. Media activities include press conferences and press releases as well as interviews on issues of nuclear safety that are the subject of current media discussion.

In 2009, in connection with the search for sites for deep geological repositories, the SFOE, the competent authority leading the process, set up the Technical Forum on Safety, which is led by ENSI. The Technical Forum on Safety discusses and answers technical and scientific questions asked by the public, communities, siting regions, organizations, cantons and authorities in neighbouring States. The forum comprises experts from the SFOE, ENSI, swisstopo, the NSC, Nagra, the cantons, neighbouring countries Austria and Germany, the Swiss Energy Foundation and up to two representatives from each of the proposed siting regions of the site selection process. In 2013, ENSI set up a similar forum for questions concerning NPPs.

Governmental communication focuses on radioactive waste disposal; efforts to keep the public, stakeholders and neighbouring countries informed have been intensified in the context of the ongoing site selection procedure for deep geological repositories. Regional participation set-up and led by the SFOE provides the siting regions with the opportunity to represent their region and to express their concerns within the process (Section 2.7.4). Governmental communication in this field is committed to ensuring a high level of transparency and public participation.



3.1.1. Regulatory authority(s) Licensing

The Federal Council is the authority that grants general licences. DETEC grants construction licences and operating licences for nuclear facilities. SFOE is responsible for coordinating the licensing procedures and issuing licences for the handling of nuclear material and radioactive waste. Supervision

ENSI is the national regulatory authority in Switzerland with responsibility for nuclear energy. It is supervised by an independent board, which is elected by the Federal Council and reports directly to it.

ENSI is responsible for the supervision of Switzerland’s nuclear facilities (i.e. the NPPs, the interim storage facility for radioactive waste, the nuclear research facilities at PSI in Villigen, EPFL and the University of Basel). Its regulatory remit covers the entire life of a facility (i.e. from initial planning through operation to final decommissioning, including the disposal of radioactive waste). It also includes the safety of staff and the public and their protection from radiation, sabotage and terrorism. In addition, ENSI is involved in the transport of radioactive material to and from nuclear facilities and in the continuing geoscientific investigations to identify a suitable location for the deep geological disposal of radioactive waste.

ENSI monitors the operation of nuclear facilities:

  • ENSI reviews reporting by the operators, holds regular supervisory discussions and monitors the nuclear facilities (including their organization and operation) by means of more than 400 on-site inspections each year.

  • Each summer, every NPP carries out an inspection, lasting several weeks, during which maintenance work and repairs are undertaken in the plant.

  • In order to protect staff, the population and the environment, ENSI monitors compliance with the radiation protection regulations and dose limits.

  • ENSI collates all the data obtained during the year into one comprehensive safety assessment, from which it derives any measures that may be required as well as its future supervision plans.

ENSI assesses nuclear facilities:

  • The assessment and monitoring of nuclear facilities are based on laws, guidelines and underlying technical and scientific documentation, which transparently set out the safety requirements and criteria that ENSI applies for its assessments. ENSI continues to develop the underlying documentation and guidelines in accordance with the latest status of science and technology.

  • ENSI draws up safety assessments when operators of nuclear facilities submit applications which go beyond the scope of their existing operation.

  • Applications for modifications to nuclear facilities that are covered by existing operating licences are dealt with by ENSI, which issues a permit if the decision is positive. Advisory committee

The NSC is designated as an advisory committee to the Federal Council and DETEC. It is involved in the licensing process, as it reviews and comments on the safety evaluation reports prepared by the supervisory authorities. Others

In the nuclear field, the supervisory authority with respect to nuclear safety and radiation protection is ENSI. In the non-nuclear field, the supervisory authorities are the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the public sector insurer SUVA (formerly Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund). The FOPH manages the licensing procedures in the non-nuclear field according to the radiological protection legislation. It is responsible for waste produced from the health care sector, industry and research.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (part of the Federal Office of Civil Protection in the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport) oversees all emergency situations, including those arising from events at NPPs and relating to the protection of the public and the environment.

The Supervision and Safety Division of the SFOE is responsible for the State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Materials as well as further supervisory activity incumbent on Switzerland from bilateral and multilateral agreements and export control relating to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the nuclear fuel cycle.

Several advisory committees to the Government or governmental departments covering aspects of radiological protection, emergency planning and waste disposal have responsibilities associated with the operation of NPPs. However, they are not involved in the licensing process and have no authority over the plants.


  • Nuclear Energy Act of 21 March 2003 (SR 732.1);

  • Nuclear Energy Ordinance of 10 December 2004 (SR 732.11);

  • Ordinance of 7 December 2007 on the Decommissioning Fund and the Waste Disposal Fund for Nuclear Installations (SR 732.17);

  • Radiological Protection Act of 22 March 1991 (SR 814.50);

  • Radiological Protection Ordinance of 26 April 2017 (SR 814.501);

  • Federal Nuclear Energy Liability Act of 18 March 1983 (SR 732.44);

  • Federal Nuclear Energy Liability Ordinance of 5 December 1983 (SR 732.441);

  • Ordinance of 12 November 2008 on the Federal Nuclear Safety Commission (SR 732.16);

  • Federal Act of 22 June 2007 on the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (SR 732.2);

  • Ordinance of 12 November 2008 on the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (SR 732.21);

  • Safeguards Ordinance of 21 March 2012 (SR 732.12);

  • Ordinance of 20 October 2010 on Emergency Organization in Case of ABC or Natural Events (SR 520.17);

  • Ordinance of 20 October 2010 on Emergency Protection Measures in the Vicinity of Nuclear Installations (SR 732.33);

  • Ordinance of 17 October 2007 on the National Emergency Operations Centre (SR 520.18);

  • Ordinance of 23 August 1978 on Additional Agreements to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement (SR 732.91);

  • Federal Act of 13 December 1996 on the Control of Dual-Use Goods and of Specific Military Goods (SR 946.202);

  • Ordinance of 25 June 1997 on the Export, Import and Transit of Dual Use Goods and Specific Military Goods (SR 946.202.1);

  • Ordinance of 18 August 2010 on Issuing Warnings and Alerting (SR 520.12).



  • Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency dated 26 October 1956;

  • Agreement dated 1 July 1959 on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency;

  • Agreement dated 28 February 1972 between the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the United States of America for the Application of Safeguards;

  • Statute of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency dated 20 December 1957;

  • Protocol dated 20 December 1957 on the Tribunal established by the Convention on the Establishment of a Security Control in the Field of Nuclear Energy;

  • Rules of Procedure of the European Nuclear Energy Tribunal dated 11 December 1962;

  • Convention dated 20 December 1957 on the Establishment of a Security Control in the Field of Nuclear Energy.


  • Convention dated 17 June 1994 on Nuclear Safety;

  • Joint Convention dated 5 September 1997 on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.


  • Convention dated 26 October 1979 on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment dated 8 July 2005.


  • International Convention dated 13 April 2005 for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism;

  • European Convention dated 27 January 1977 on the Suppression of Terrorism.


  • Convention dated 22 June 1960 Concerning the Protection of Workers against Ionizing Radiation.


  • Agreement dated 30 November 1989 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of France on Information Exchange in Case of Incidents or Accidents with Possible Radiological Consequences;

  • Agreement dated 10 August 1982 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Germany on Mutual Information in Case of Construction and Operation of Nuclear Facilities near the Border;

  • Agreement dated 15 December 1989 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Italy on Quick Information Exchange in Case of Nuclear Accidents;

  • Convention dated 26 September 1986 on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident;

  • Convention dated 26 September 1986 on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency;

  • Convention dated 31 May 1978 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Germany on Radioprotection in Case of an Alert;

  • Exchange of notes dated 25 July 1986 between Switzerland and Germany concerning the application of the Convention dated 31 May 1978/15 February 1980/25 July 1986 on Radioprotection in Case of an Alert;

  • Agreement dated 19 March 1999 between the Swiss Government and the Austrian Republic on Quick Information Exchange in the Field of Nuclear Security and Radioprotection;

  • Exchange of letters dated 5/20 November 2008 between the Swiss Federal Council and the Government of France concerning the field and the modalities of alert and/or of transmission of information in case of a minor event or an accidental situation in the NPP of Fessenheim or in the Swiss NPPs of Beznau, Gösgen, Leibstadt and Mühleberg (with annex);

  • Agreement dated 10 August 1982 for the reciprocal provision of information concerning the construction and operation of nuclear installations in frontier areas (with annex).


  • Agreement dated 22 October 1986 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Germany in the field of nuclear liability.


  • Convention dated 1 July 1953 for the Establishment of a European Organization for Nuclear Research;

  • Financial Protocol dated 1 July 1953 Annexed to the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organization for Nuclear Research;

  • Juridical Statute of the European Organization for Nuclear Research on Swiss Territory;

  • Agreements with France concerning the extension in French territory of the domain of the European Organization for Nuclear Research;

  • Agreement dated 28 November 2007 in the form of an exchange of letters between the Swiss Government and the European Atomic Energy Community on the Application of the Agreement on the International Organization ITER;

  • Agreement dated 28 November 2007 in the form of an exchange of letters between the Swiss Government and the European Atomic Energy Community on the Adhesion of Switzerland to the Common European Venture for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy;

  • Agreement dated 5 December 2014 for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community and the Swiss Confederation associating the Swiss Confederation to Horizon 2020 — the Framework of Programme for Research and Innovation and the Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Communication complementing Horizon 2020, and regulating the Swiss Confederation’s participation in the ITER activities carried out by F4E;

  • Exchange of letters dated 6 November 1986 between the Swiss Government and the European Atomic Energy Community concerning the Swiss Association to the Cooperation Agreement between Euratom and the United States of America.


  • Treaty dated 5 August 1963 Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water;

  • Treaty dated 1 July 1968 on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

  • Agreement dated 6 September 1978 between the Swiss Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

  • Protocol additional to the agreement dated 6 September 1978 between the Swiss Confederation and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;

  • Treaty dated 11 February 1971 on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof.


  • Cooperation Agreement dated 28 January 1986 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Australia Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 22 December 1987 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Canada Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 12 November 1986 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 5 December 1988 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of France Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 14 February 1968 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Sweden Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Exchange of letters dated 30 November 1989 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of France for the Creation of a Mixed Commission on Nuclear Safety;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 31 October 1997 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Cooperation Agreement dated 6 April 1990 between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy;

  • Additional Protocol dated 25 April 1990 to the Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Sweden Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.


National nuclear energy authorities
Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC)
Bundeshaus Nord
Kochergasse 10
3003 Bern
tel.: +41 31 322 21 11
fax: +41 31 322 26 92

Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE)
Mühlestrasse 4
3003 Bern
tel.: +41 31 322 56 11
fax: +41 31 323 25 00

Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI)
Industriestrasse 19
5200 Brugg
tel.: +41 56 460 84 00
fax: +41 56 460 84 99



Federal Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC)
Gaswerkstrasse 5
5200 Brugg
tel.: +41 56 462 86 86

Main power utilities
Kernkraftwerk Gösgen-Däniken AG
4658 Däniken
tel.: +41 62 288 20 00
fax: +41 62 288 20 01

Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG
5325 Leibstadt
tel.: +41 56 267 71 11

Alpiq AG
Bahnhofquai 12
4601 Olten
tel.: +41 62 286 71 11
fax: +41 62 286 73 73

Axpo Holding AG
Corporate Communications
Zollstrasse 62
8023 Zurich
tel.: + 41 44 278 41 11
fax: + 41 44 278 41 12

BKW FMB Energie AG
Viktoriaplatz 2
3000 Bern 25
tel.: +41 31 330 51 11
fax: +41 31 330 56 35 

Radioactive waste management
National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra)
Hardstrasse 73
5430 Wettingen
tel.: +41 56 437 11 11

ZWILAG Zwischenlager Würenlingen AG
Industriestrasse Beznau 1
5303 Würenlingen
tel.: +41 56 297 47 11
fax: +41 56 297 47 22

Grimsel Test Site
Hardstrasse 73
5430 Wettingen
tel.: +41 564 371 310
fax: +41 564 371 317

Mont Terri Rock Laboratory Project
Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo)
Route de la Gare 64
2882 St. Ursanne 
tel.: +41 79 414 04 59

Nuclear research
Paul Scherrer Institute
5232 Villigen
tel.: +41 56 310 21 11
fax: +41 56 310 21 99

Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas (CRPP)
Station 13
1015 Lausanne
tel.: +41 21 693 54 74
fax: +41 21 693 51 76

Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behaviour
Station 3
1015 Lausanne
tel.: +41 21 693 33 75
fax: +41 21 693 44 70

Laboratory for Nuclear Energy Systems
ETH Zürich
ML K 13
Sonneggstrasse 3
8092 Zurich
tel.: +41 44 632 60 25
fax: +41 44 632 16 57

Coordinator information

Name of report coordinator:
Dr. Ralf Straub
Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Swiss Federal Office of Energy
Supervision and Safety Division
Mühlestrasse 4
3063 Ittigen
tel.: +41 58 463 17 65
fax: +41 58 463 25 00

(1) See www.bfe.admin.ch/bfe/en/home/policy/energy-strategy-2050.html

(2) See www.bfe.admin.ch/bfe/en/home/policy/energy-perspectives-2050-plus.html

(3) Corporations with an annual electricity consumption of more than 100 000 kW·h.