ČEZ, a. s. – Annual report – 31 December 2020
2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (extract)
2.24. Nuclear Provisions
The Group makes a provision for nuclear decommissioning, a provision for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste, and a provision for the funding of subsequent permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and irradiated reactor components (see Note 20.1).
The provisions made correspond to the best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the present obligation at the end of the reporting period. The estimate, expressed at the price level at the date of estimate, is discounted using an estimated long-term real interest rate of 0.4% and 0.7% per annum as at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, so as to take into account the timing of expenditure. Initial discounted costs are capitalized as part of property, plant, and equipment and then amortized for the duration of time for which nuclear power plants will generate electricity. The provision is increased by the estimated inflation and real interest rate annually. Such expenses are recognized in the statement of profit or loss in the line item Interest expense on provisions. The effect of the expected rate of inflation is estimated at 1.5% as at December 31, 2020 and 2019.
The process of nuclear power plant decommissioning is estimated to continue for approximately 50 years after the termination of electricity generation. It is assumed that a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel will commence operation in 2065 and the process of disposing of stored spent nuclear fuel at the repository will continue until approximately 2090. Although the Group has made the best estimate of the amount of nuclear provisions, potential changes in technology, changes in safety and environmental requirements, and changes in the duration of such activities may result in actual costs varying considerably from the Group’s current estimates.
Changes in estimates concerning the provisions for nuclear decommissioning and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel resulting from new estimates of the amount or timing of cash flows required to settle these obligations or from a change in the discount rate are added to, or deducted from, the amount recognized as an asset in the balance sheet. Should the amount of the asset be negative, i.e., should the deducted amount exceed the amount of the asset, the difference is recognized directly in profit or loss.
2.7. Fuel Costs
Fuel is recognized as costs when it is consumed. Fuel costs include the depreciation of nuclear fuel (see Note 2.10).
2.9. Property, Plant and Equipment (extract)
Property, plant, and equipment are measured at cost less accumulated depreciation and impairments. The cost of property, plant, and equipment comprises the purchase price and the related cost of materials and labor and the cost of debt financing used in the construction. The cost also includes the estimated cost of dismantling and removing a tangible asset to the extent specified by IAS 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities, and Contingent Assets. Government grants and similar subsidies received for the acquisition of property, plant, and equipment decrease the cost.
2.10. Nuclear Fuel
The Group recognizes nuclear fuel as part of property, plant, and equipment because the period for which it is used for electricity generation exceeds 1 year. Nuclear fuel is measured at cost less accumulated depreciation and, if applicable, impairments. Nuclear fuel includes a capitalized portion of the provision for interim storage of nuclear fuel. The depreciation of nuclear fuel in a reactor is determined on the basis of the amount of energy generated and presented in the statement of profit or loss in the line item Fuel and emission rights. The depreciation of nuclear fuel includes additions to the provision for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel.
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with IFRS requires Group management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the reporting date, the disclosure of information on contingent assets and contingent liabilities, and the amounts of revenues and expenses reported for a reporting period. Actual results may differ from such estimates. A description of key assumptions for significant estimates is included in the relevant sections of the Notes. The Group makes significant estimates when determining the recoverable amounts of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (see Note 7), accounting for the nuclear provisions (see Note 20.1), provisions for reclamation of mines, mining damages and waste storage reclamation (see Note 20.2), unbilled electricity and gas (see Note 2.6), fair value of commodity contracts (see Notes 2.16 and 18), financial derivatives (see Notes 2.15 and 18) and incremental borrowing rate and lease terms to measure lease liability (see Notes 2.27 and 24).
The following table provides an overview of provisions as at December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in CZK millions):
20.1. Nuclear Provisions
The Company operates two nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plant Dukovany consists of four units which commissioned in 1985 to 1987. Nuclear power plant Temelín consists of two units that were commissioned in 2002 and 2003. A Nuclear Energy Act sets down obligations for nuclear facility decommissioning and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. In accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act, all the nuclear parts and equipment of a nuclear power plant must be disposed of after the end of operation. For the purpose of accounting for the nuclear provisions, it is estimated that the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant will stop generating electricity in 2047; the Temelín plant in 2062. Studies for the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant and for the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant from 2020 assume that the costs of decommissioning of these power plants will reach in the amount CZK 26.5 billion and CZK 21.0 billion. The Company makes contributions to a restricted bank accounts in the amount of the nuclear provisions recorded under the Nuclear Energy Act. These funds can be invested in government bonds in accordance with legislation. These restricted financial assets are shown in the balance sheet as part of Restricted financial assets, net (see Note 4).
The Ministry of Industry and Trade established the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) as the central organizer and operator of facilities for the final disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The SÚRAO operates, supervises and is responsible for disposal facilities and for disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel therein. The activities of the SÚRAO are financed through a nuclear account funded by the originators of radioactive waste. Contribution to the nuclear account is stated by Nuclear Energy Act at 55 CZK per MWh produced at nuclear power plants. In 2020 and 2019, the payments to the nuclear account amounted to CZK 1,652 million and CZK 1,663 million, respectively. The originator of radioactive waste and spent fuel directly covers all costs associated with interim storage of radioactive waste and spent fuel.
The Group has established provisions for estimated future expenses on nuclear decommissioning and interim storage and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel in accordance with the principles described in Note 2.24. The following is a summary of the provisions for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in CZK millions):
The current cash expenditures for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel represent payments to the state controlled nuclear account and the expenditures for interim storage represent mainly the purchase of interim fuel storage containers and other related equipment.
In 2020 the Group recorded the change in estimate for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel in connection with the change in expectations of future storage cost and change in discount rate, the change in estimate in provision for nuclear decommissioning due to the update of the expert decommissioning studies for Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant and for Temelín Nuclear Power Plant and change in discount rate and the change in long-term spent fuel storage in connection with the extension of the expected production time of the nuclear power plants by 10 years and change in discount rate.
In 2019 the Group recorded the change in estimate for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel in connection with the change in expectations of future storage cost and change in discount rate, the change in estimate in provision for nuclear decommissioning due to the update of the expert decommissioning study for Temelín Nuclear Power Plant and change in discount rate and the change in long-term spent fuel storage in connection with the modification of the expected output of the nuclear power plants and change in discount rate.
The actual decommissioning and spent fuel storage costs could vary substantially from the above estimates because of new regulatory requirements, changes in technology, increased costs of labor, materials and equipment and/or the actual time required to complete all decommissioning, disposal and storage activities.
20.2. Provision for Mine Reclamation and Mining Damages and Waste Storage Reclamation
The following table shows the movements of provisions for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in CZK millions):
The provision for decommissioning and reclamation of mines and mining damages was recorded by Severočeské doly a.s., a mining subsidiary of ČEZ. Severočeské doly a.s. operates open pit coal mines and is responsible for decommissioning and reclamation of the mines as well as for damages caused by the operations of the mines. These provisions have been calculated using the best estimates of the expenditures required to settle the present obligation at the balance sheet date. Current cash expenditures represent cash payments for current reclamation of mining area and settlement of mining damages. Change in estimate represents change in provision as result of updated cost estimates in the current period, mainly due to changes in expected prices of reclamation activities.
4. Restricted Financial Assets, Net
The overview of restricted financial assets, net at December 31, 2020 and 2019, is as follows (in CZK millions):
The Czech government bonds are measured at fair value through other comprehensive income. The restricted financial assets contain in particular restricted financial assets to cover the costs of nuclear decommissioning, to cover the costs for mine reclamation and mining damages and for waste storage reclamation.