Keywords: national responsibility, spent nuclear fuel, Swedish model, Europeanisation, juridification, politics, nuclear law, nuclear waste management, nuclear power, nuclear energy, Sweden
Spent nuclear fuel and the principle of national responsibility: national policies in a European context; the case of Sweden
The principle of national responsibility is of essential importance for the international regulation of nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel. The principle lays down the obligation of each state producing nuclear energy to take responsibility for the residual products that this production generates. It is a principle that can be, and has been, invoked on a national level to provide a legal basis for a prohibition of storage of foreign spent nuclear fuel. The present article discusses the implementation of this principle in Sweden. The Swedish model for handling spent nuclear fuel has evolved over time, and the regulation has traditionally been characterised by providing the government with a great deal of discretionary power. Today, this model is challenged by the processes of privatisation, Europeanisation and juridification. The article provides, on the one hand, an account of how the principle of national responsibility has been interpreted in the Swedish context, and on the other, a critical account of the risks involved in an unreflective mix of legal and political arguments.