Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Last stop for nuclear waste before burial

In Switzerland, producers of radioactive waste are responsible for its safe disposal. The government wants to store the 100,000 cubic metres of waste in deep geological repositories. But first it has to go to facilities like the ZWILAG in Würenlingen.

Until it can be finally stored underground, radioactive waste must be kept in interim storage for 30 to 40 years until it has cooled down enough.

For low- and medium-level waste, an interim storage facility can bridge the time gap until the commissioning of a deep geological repository.

Treatment plants are available for preparing the waste for disposal in deep geological repositories.

All categories of radioactive waste generated in Switzerland are processed and temporarily stored at the ZWILAG facility and a federal facility close by.

The waste primarily consists of operational waste and spent fuel rods from the nuclear power plants, reprocessed waste, and radioactive waste from medicine, industry and research.

The nuclear power plant operators bear the disposal costs, which are fully covered by the electricity prices consumers pay.

(Images: Gaetan Bally, Keystone)

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR