Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva Oy said it has "developed a final disposal solution for used nuclear fuel within a pioneering R&D initiative". The R&D project is now nearing the construction stage for a repository and waste encapsulation plant at Olkiluoto.
Posiva is responsible for the final disposal of used nuclear fuel generated by Teollisuuden Voima Oyi's (TVO's) nuclear plant in Olkiluoto and Fortum's nuclear plant at Loviisa. TVO owns 60% and Fortum 40% of Posiva.
Posiva said the final disposal of used nuclear fuel is planned to start in the 2020s and will continue for almost 100 years. The company has estimated the total cost at €3bn ($3.2bn), with the long service life of the final disposal facility contributing most to the total. The company has been working on final disposal since the 1970s. The company has carried out extensive R&D at the Onkalo characterisation facility at Olkiluoto.
An application to build the final repository was submitted to Finland's government in December 2012. The construction licence application related to a complex of two interconnected nuclear facilities, the above-ground encapsulation plant and the underground final repository. The complex will also include facilities intended for the final disposal of nuclear waste created during the operation and decommissioning of the encapsulation plant.
Posiva believes its expertise "is in wide commercial demand". Its work at Onkalo "has resulted in the development of several innovative technical solutions and equipment as well as unique know-how based on diversified research in multiple fields", the company said.
Posiva said it now intends to "convert the expertise accumulated over several decades into a business opportunity" but gave no details of the solution it plans to market.
Posiva president and CEO Janne Mokka said: "The time is now favourable for starting the service business. Our development project has reached a stage where we have ready solution models and service packages that can be flexibly adapted to the local circumstances of companies planning their nuclear waste management." He added that many Finnish firms and research organisations have been involved in Posiva's projects over the years. "As a result of this, we now have a cluster of unique multi-disciplinary expertise in nuclear waste management. Good cooperation and a networked approach enables us to create export business opportunities for Finland, with good prospects of significant growth in the coming years."
Photo: Installation of bentonite blocks in Okiluoto repository (Source: Posiva Oy)