Who we are

History and our most important current challenges

Our mission is to provide for the safe disposal of radioactive waste in accordance with the requirements of nuclear safety and human and environmental protection. We manage radioactive waste repositories, coordinate preparation for the construction of a deep geological repository and verify that the waste to be disposed of meets the strict standards set by the State Office for Nuclear Safety. Our aim is to ensure a safe future for all.

The Czech Radioactive Waste Repository (SÚRAO) was established on 1 June 1997 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic as a state organisation. On 1 January 2001, in accordance with Section 51 of Act No. 219/2000 Coll. the status of SÚRAO was changed to that of a state organisational body. SÚRAO is managed by its managing director who is appointed and recalled by the Minister of Industry and Trade. The activities of SÚRAO are governed by the Atomic Act.

The state is responsible for the safe disposal of all radioactive waste in the Czech Republic. The provisions of the original Atomic Act (Act No. 18/1997 Coll.) entrusted the safe operation of waste repositories and the disposal of radioactive waste to SÚRAO. SÚRAO has been a state organisational body since 2001.

SÚRAO’s activities are funded by the so-called nuclear account to which, by law, all radioactive waste producers are required to contribute. The nuclear account is managed by the Ministry of Finance and the funding of SÚRAO’s activities is based on its approved budget and annual plan of activities.

 History of radioactive waste disposal

The Czech Republic enjoys one of the longest periods of experience of the use of radioactive materials in the world. Uranium ore, pitchblende, was discovered in the Jáchymov area as early as in the 18th century and it was in Jáchymov that the Curies subsequently isolated two new elements – polonium and radium. At the beginning of the 20th century, the use of natural radioisotopes in the industry, research and healthcare sectors was already widespread in the Czech Republic. Thus, the need to address the issue of radioactive waste has been recognised for many years.

In 1991, the Institute for the Research, Production and Use of Radioisotopes assumed responsibility for the management of radioactive waste and its final disposal. In 1992, when the country’s repositories were privatised, the Institute’s legal successor, NYCOM Ltd. (subsequently ARAO), assumed responsibility for such activities. Based on the provisions of the original Atomic Act (Act No. 18/1997 Coll.), the repositories were transferred back to state ownership and their safe operation and the management of radioactive waste were entrusted to the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) which, since 2001, has consisted of the legal form of a state organisational body.


The research, health, industry and energy sectors all produce radioactive waste. Our main priority is safety which means the permanent separation of radioactive waste from humans and the environment.

 The most important activities of the Czech Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) include providing for the operation of low- and intermediate-level waste repositories. We manage all the Czech Republic’s radioactive waste repositories:

  • the Richard (near Litoměřice) repository for the disposal of institutional waste;
  • the Dukovany repository for the disposal of operational waste from the nuclear power sector;
  • the Bratrství repository for the disposal of low- and intermediate-level waste containing only naturally-occurring radionuclides.

We are also responsible for the coordination of all the work concerned with the development and eventual construction of a deep geological repository for high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel.

In addition, we monitor the impact of repositories on the environment, maintain records of radioactive waste accepted from producers and coordinate research and development in the field of radioactive waste management, which includes close scientific research cooperation and the exchange of information at the international level.

Complete list of our activities:

  • preparation, construction, commissioning, operation and closure of radioactive waste repositories,
  • monitoring of the impact of radioactive waste repositories on the local environment,
  • institutional inspection of radioactive waste repositories,
  • management of radioactive waste,
  • treatment of spent nuclear fuel into a form suitable for disposal or its further use after it has been declared to be radioactive waste,
  • administration of fees for the disposal of radioactive waste and the inspection of the decommissioning reserves of licence holders, including the terms of contracts on the maintaining of tied bank accounts and the granting of approval for the drawing of funds from such reserves,
  • provision of radioactive waste management services,
  • management of radioactive waste transported to the Czech Republic from abroad which cannot be returned to the country of origin,
  • ensuring the safe handling of newly-discovered nuclear materials or other sources of ionising radiation,
  • ensuring the safe management of state-owned nuclear materials or other sources of ionising radiation,
  • management of radioactive waste and sources of ionising radiation occurring as a result of criminal activities,
  • provision of financial contributions to municipalities,
  • provision of subsidies for the disposal of old radiation burdens,
  • approval of the drawing of decommissioning reserves,
  • verification of the financial reserves licence.