The Finnish government has decided in principle to proceed with construction of a deep geological repository for high level wastes at Eurajoki, near the Olkiluoto plant. The decision has been supported by local residents and the national nuclear safety authority.
Foratom said the decision to go ahead with the world’s first final repository for spent fuel is “a morally responsible move that deserves the highest praise.” Construction of the repository, which is still subject to parliamentary approval, is expected to begin in 2010.
Commenting on the Finnish decision, Foratom’s secretary general, Wolf-J Schmidt-Küster, said: “This demolishes the old argument of the anti-nuclear lobby that no-one knows what to do with radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Such distorted assertions can now be safely disposed of. The safe management of radioactive waste has been ongoing since the start of the nuclear industrial era. Low- and medium-level radioactive waste is managed safely is a way that poses no threat.” The European Commission recently published a Green Paper on security of energy, which stated that the stability required to develop nuclear power was dependent on the waste issue being resolved.
The Finnish parliament will now consider the government’s decision in principle in favour of a repository, and a parliamentary decision is expected in March. If parliament approves the plan, further decision-making will be needed to licence the actual construction work.