Finland contracted to help with Czech deep repository

20 October 2016

Finland’s waste management company, Posiva, has agreed with the Czech Republic's Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) to share its experience and know-how on developing a repository for used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste under a €2.75m ($3.03m) four-year service contract. The services will be provided by Posiva subsidiary Posiva Solutions, and Finnish engineering company Saanio and Riekkola Oy. Other suppliers in the project will be SKB International and the Geological Survey of Finland.

A memorandum of cooperation between SÚRAO and Posiva was signed in November 2015relating to site selection process, the fulfilment of the relevant legislative and legal requirements and cooperation in the design, construction and operation of a future deep geological repository.

The site for Posiva's repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000. The Finnish parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the repository project in 2001. Posiva, jointly owned by Finnish nuclear utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, submitted its construction licence application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in December 2013. The government granted a construction licence for the project last November and construction is expected to start this year for operation in 2023.

Posiva launched Posiva Solutions in June. Posiva Solutions managing director Mika Pohjonen said, "This contract is a significant step in utilizing Finnish nuclear waste management expertise globally. Commercial exploitation of Posiva's experience gained in the Onkalo project is well under way." 

The Czech environment ministry issued a licence to SÚRAO in October 2014 to conduct only the initial stage of geological investigation work at seven candidate sites for a national repository for high-level radioactive waste. This involves the taking of surface and near-surface measurements and rock soundings, data collection and gathering of rock samples using non-invasive methods.

SÚRAO director Jirí Slovák said the Czech Republic was in the early phase of geological investigation on seven preselected sites and hoped to select the final locality for the deep geological repository by 2025. The candidate sites include: Horka (Budišov) and Hrádek (Rohozná), both in the Vysocina region; Cihadlo (Lodhérov) and Magdaléna (Božejovice) in the South Bohemia region; Brezový potok (Pacejov) in Plzen region; and Certovka (Lubenec) in the Plzen and Ústí-nad-Labem regions. A former military area at Boletice in South Bohemia region is also under consideration. The Czech repository is to be built to a depth of some 500 metres and construction is expected to begin around 2050 for operation in 2065.



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