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20.02.2015

Finland: Facilities for managing radioactive waste can be constructed safely

The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority confirms that a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel can be constructed safely in Finland.

The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK has confirmed that the spent nuclear fuel encapsulation plant and the final disposal facility designed by the waste management organisation Posiva can be constructed safely. STUK found that the operational and long-term safety of the nuclear waste disposal facility are on a sufficiently high level for granting the construction licence and that all the requirements of the nuclear energy legislation have been met. STUK reached its decision after a detailed review of the construction licence application that was submitted by Posiva in December 2012. STUK’s positive assessment of safety is required for the decision to be made by the Finnish Government on the granting of the construction licence. Spent fuel from the four existing reactors and from the reactor currently under construction will be disposed of at the Olkiluoto site in the community of Eurajoki. Posiva is expected to apply for the operating licence around 2020.

Continuous improvement of safety in a stepwise process as the leading principle

As in Switzerland, Finland is planning and implementing its waste disposal solution as part of a stepwise process. The appropriate approach is to progress in phases and, at the same time, to assess and elaborate the design of the facility on the basis of accumulating knowledge, with continuous optimisation of safety. For example, in Finland more detailed knowledge about the local characteristics of the host rock at the final disposal depth will be obtained once the construction of the facility begins. During the period up to submission of the operating licence application, Posiva has to continue its studies related to long-term safety and further elaborate on the scenario and safety analyses carried out. Information will also be obtained in the site-specific Onkalo rock laboratory. The regulatory authority STUK will follow the entire process closely.

Image: Posiva Oy

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