Swedish regulator cautiously positive about repository licensing

24 June 2015

Sweden's nuclear regulator has released some initial findings from its review of a construction licence application for a spent nuclear fuel repository at Forsmark.

Spent fuel and radioactive waste management company, SKB, submitted the licence application to the regulator in March 2011.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said that according to its preliminary assessment SKB has demonstrated prospects for meeting nuclear safety and radiation protection standards in connection with rock excavation, the handling of disposal canisters in the underground facility and emplacement of the waste.

The regulator also said it is 'cautiously positive' that SKB's application for a repository would meet long-term radiological safety and radiation protection standards shortly after closure. But it noted that further investigation work is needed in order to take a position on SKB's account of how the repository is expected to comply with radiation safety requirements over a minimum period of 100,000 years.

The main issues that need to be resolved relate to the manufacture of copper canisters that will be used to store the spent nuclear fuel. SSM said it would continue its review work to determine whether the underlying documentation is sufficient for this step of the licensing process.

"The outcomes we have presented today are preliminary and it is too soon to draw any conclusion regarding our future overall assessment," said Ansi Gerhardsson, Head of Section at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

Additional preliminary outcomes from the will be published over the course of 2015. In spring 2016, the Swedish regulator will deliver an opinion on SKB's overall licence application to the land and environmental court. A decision is expected to be made in 2017.

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