Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva Oy and YIT Construction on 29 November signed a €20m ($21m) contract for the excavation of the first tunnels for Posiva’s final deep geologic disposal facility at Olkiluoto. Posiva, jointly owned by Finnish nuclear utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, said YIT will start the excavations in December and the work is expected to take about two-and-a-half years. The contract covers the excavation of the first central tunnels and vehicle access to them. The Finnish government granted Posiva the construction licence for the facility in November 2015 and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) gave the go-ahead on 25 November 2016. Operations at the repository are expected to begin in 2023.
The site for the repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000. The Finnish parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the project in 2001. Posiva submitted its construction licence application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in December 2013. In a statement, Posiva said Stuk's decision on its preparedness together with the signing of the contract with YIT "make it possible to launch the first licensed work phases of the final disposal facility as referred to in the construction licence". Posiva said further construction contracts will be awarded as the project progresses.