The Finnish Government has granted a licence for the construction of a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel, which will see 6,500 tonnes of uranium stored for 100,000 years.
After gaining research results and experience from the underground rock characterisation facility ONKALO, Posiva is now about to move on to the construction of the final disposal facility on the island of Olkiluoto in Eurajoki, Finland.
The final disposal of the spent fuel generated in the Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants into the Finnish bedrock is planned to start in the early 2020’s.
Finland’s Economy Minister Olli Rehn – “Finland is an international pioneer in nuclear waste management, which also obliges us to take care of matters responsibly and safely in future”
The spent fuel assemblies will be encapsulated and placed in the bedrock at a depth of about 400 metres. The facility comprises two parts: the aboveground encapsulation plant for the encapsulation of the spent fuel in the final disposal canisters, and the final repository deep in the bedrock, with tunnels in which the spent fuel will be placed.
“The construction licence that has now been granted for our final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel is a significant achievement for us, our owners and our entire personnel,” says Posiva’s President and CEO, Janne Mokka.
“This pioneering project is important not only for Finland, but also on a global scale. It is the first project entering into construction phase in the whole world. I express my thanks and appreciation to all the experts and partners in Finland and in other countries, who have joined their forces and expertise in this unique and multidisciplinary project.”
Posiva said that a similar project is underway in Sweden, but it will take a longer time to become operational.
The Finnish Parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the final disposal project in 2001. Posiva submitted the application for the construction licence at the end of 2012. In February 2015, Finnish safety authority STUK issued a statement to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy stating that Posiva’s encapsulation plant and final repository for spent nuclear fuel can be built to be safe.
Finland’s Economy Minister Olli Rehn said at a press conference: “Finland is an international pioneer in nuclear waste management, which also obliges us to take care of matters responsibly and safely in future. Finnish expertise also provides us with commercial opportunities in developing nuclear waste management in other countries.”