Sweden’s SKB to start building repository in 2019

3 September 2015

Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company SKB is planning to complete the licensing process for a used nuclear fuel repository at Forsmark and to begin construction in 2019, according to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). By then, SKB plans to have the review of its licence application completed by the SSM and the land and environmental court, as well as to obtain a decision by the Swedish government and to complete the preliminary safety analysis report. Construction and commissioning of the repository could then be completed by 2028, when trial operations would begin. Commercial operation is scheduled for 2030.

SKB's plan, commissioned by the Swedish government, was outlined in the SSM report submitted on 20 August to the European Commission (EC) on the national plan for radioactive waste management. It covers for the generation, management, treatment, transport, interim storage and final disposal of used nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste in Sweden. Under the European Union's Waste Directive of 2011, European countries were required to submit such plans to the European Commission by 23 August.

In June, SSM said its first preliminary review of SKB's application for the repository indicated that SKB meets several regulatory requirements for the facility. SSM plans to present additional preliminary opinions later this year and the final assessment will be published in 2017.

SKB's also plans construction of an encapsulation plant for used nuclear fuel at Oskarshamn in southeast Sweden, called Clink, the report said. Clink will receive the necessary licences by 2021 when construction will begin. It will be commissioned in 2029, at the same time as the repository. Until then, Sweden's used fuel will be stored at SKB's Clab interim storage facilit at Oskarshamn, which was commissioned in 1985. Clink will be built alongside Clab.

The report also says new facilities will have to be built for the interim storage and encapsulation of used nuclear fuel, if new Generation III reactors are built in Sweden. Physical differences in the fuel assemblies as well as a higher burnup of the fuel would require it to be kept in interim storage for around 60 years rather than the 40-50 years required for Generation II fuel. This, together with longer operating times of new reactors, means interim storage and encapsulation processes will need to continue beyond 2100.

The possible need to construct a new spent fuel repository in the future will have to be examined at a later stage and will depend on the capacity of the repository to be built at Forsmark, the report says. It will be preferable in terms of safety and economy to site a potential new repository alongside the one already planned.



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