IAS 37, decommissioning provision disclosure, estimates and judgements

ČEZ, a. s. – Annual report – 31 December 2019

Industry: utilities

2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (extract)
2.21. Nuclear Provisions
The Company has recognized provisions for its obligations to decommission its nuclear power plants at the end of their operating lives, to store the related spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste initially on an interim basis and provision for its obligation to provide financing for subsequent permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel and irradiated parts of reactors (see Note 16.1).

The provisions recognized represent the best estimate of the expenditures required to settle the present obligation at the current balance sheet date. Such cost estimates, expressed at current price levels at the date of the estimate, are discounted at December 31, 2019 and 2018 using a long-term real rate of interest of 0.70% and 1.25% per annum, respectively, to take into account the timing of payments. The initial discounted cost amounts are capitalized as part of property, plant and equipment and are depreciated over the period when the nuclear power plants generate electricity. Each year, the provisions are increased to reflect the accretion of discount and to accrue an estimate for the effects of inflation, with the charges being presented in the income statement on the line Interest on provisions. At December 31, 2019 and 2018 the estimate for the effect of expected inflation rate is 1.50% and 1.25%, respectively.
The decommissioning process is expected to continue for approximately a fifty-year period subsequent to the final operation of the plants. It is currently anticipated that the permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will become available in 2065 and the process of final disposal of the spent nuclear fuel will then continue until approximately 2090. While the Company has made its best estimate in establishing its nuclear provisions, because of potential changes in technology as well as safety and environmental requirements, plus the actual time scale to complete decommissioning and interim and permanent fuel storage activities, the ultimate provision requirements could vary significantly from the Company’s current estimates.

Changes in a decommissioning liability and in liability for permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel that result from a change in the current best estimate of timing and/or amount of cash flows required to settle the obligation or from a change in the discount rate are added to (or deducted from) the amount recognized as the related asset. However, to the extent that such a treatment would result in a negative asset, the effect of the change is recognized in the income for the current period.

2.5. Fuel Costs
Fuel costs are expensed as fuel is consumed. Fuel expense includes the amortization of the cost of nuclear fuel (see Note 2.8).

2.7. Property, Plant and Equipment (extract)
Property, plant and equipment are recorded at cost, net of accumulated depreciation and impairment in value. Cost of plant in service includes purchase price, materials, labor, payroll-related costs and the cost of debt financing used during construction. The cost also includes the estimated cost of dismantling and removing the asset and restoring the site, to the extent that is recognized as a provision under IAS 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets. Government grants received for construction of certain items of property, plant and equipment decrease the acquisition cost of the respective items.

2.8. Nuclear Fuel
The Company presents nuclear fuel as part of property, plant and equipment, because its useful life exceeds 1 year. Nuclear fuel is recorded at cost, net of accumulated amortization and possible impairment in value. The nuclear fuel includes the capitalized portion of the provision for interim storage of nuclear fuel. Amortization of fuel in the reactor is based on the amount of power generated and is recognized in the income statement in the line item Fuel and emission rights. The amortization of nuclear fuel includes charges in respect of additions to the accumulated provision for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel.

2.3. Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standards requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses for the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Explanation of key assumptions is included in relevant sections of notes where significant estimates are being described.

Significant estimates are made by the Company while determining recoverable amounts for property, plant and equipment and financial assets (see Notes 3 and 5), accounting for the nuclear provisions (see Notes 2.21 and 16.1), provisions for waste storage reclamation (see Note 16.2), fair value of commodity contracts (see Notes 2.13 and 14) and financial derivatives (see Notes 2.12 and 14) and incremental borrowing rate and lease term to measure lease liability (see Notes 2.22 and 20).

16. Provisions
The following is a summary of the provisions at December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in CZK millions):

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16.1. Nuclear Provisions
The Company operates two nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plant Dukovany consists of four units which were put into service from 1985 to 1987. Nuclear power plant Temelín has two units which have started commercial operation in 2002 and 2003. A Nuclear Act defines obligations for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, the disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel (disposal). The Nuclear Act requires that all nuclear parts of plant and equipment be decommissioned following the end of the plant’s operating life. For the purpose of accounting for the nuclear provisions, it is assumed that the end of operation will be 2037 for Dukovany and 2052 for Temelín. A 2018 Dukovany and a 2019 Temelín decommissioning cost study estimate that nuclear decommissioning will cost CZK 28.6 billion and CZK 22.4 billion, respectively. The Company makes contributions to a restricted bank accounts in the amount of the nuclear provisions recorded under the Nuclear Act. These restricted 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 (RAWRA) as the central organizer and operator of facilities for the final disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The RAWRA operates, supervises and is responsible for disposal facilities and for disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel therein. The activities of the RAWRA are financed through a nuclear account funded by the originators of radioactive waste. Contribution to the nuclear account is stated by Nuclear Act at 55 CZK per MWh produced at nuclear power plants. In 2019 and 2018, the payments to the nuclear account amounted to CZK 1,663 million and CZK 1,646 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 Company has established provisions as described in Note 2.21, to recognize its estimated liabilities for decommissioning and spent fuel storage.

The following is a summary of the nuclear provisions for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in CZK millions):

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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 2019 the Company 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 nuclear power plant in Temelín 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.

In 2018 the Company recorded the change in estimate for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel in connection with the change in expectations of future storage cost, the change in estimate in provision for nuclear decommissioning due to the update of the expert decommissioning study for nuclear power plant in Dukovany and the change in long-term spent fuel storage in connection with the modification of the expected output of the nuclear power plants.

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.

16.2. Provision for Waste Storage Reclamation
The following table shows the movements of the provision for waste storage reclamation for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in CZK millions):

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