Let’s drink to Loviisa’s LILW repository

30 June 1998

On 4 June, the final disposal repository for low and intermediate level waste (LILW) at the Loviisa nuclear power station was formally inaugurated by the chairman of the Loviisa City Council. Those attending had an opportunity to toast the project with a drink of “Reserva Hästholmen,” water thousands of years old, found under the repository at a depth of about 800 m.

Construction of the repository at the VVER nuclear power plant, operated by IVO (Imatran Voima Oy), began at the beginning of 1993, and has cost about FIM 80 million ($14.5m). The bedrock repository is intended to be used until 2055, after which it is due to be definitively closed.

Containers holding maintenance waste which has accumulated during the 21 year operation of the power plant have been brought into the repository during the first week in June. The first waste containers had been taken into the repository last year with the permission of the STUK, the country’s radiation and nuclear safety authority. The operating permit was granted by the Council of State.

The waste is placed in the repository at a depth of 110 metres. The material disposed includes, for example, anti-contamination clothing and gloves used in maintenance outages, packaging and building material as well as decommissioned equipment. The waste is packed in containers which are taken to the final repository through a transport tunnel.

“This repository is sufficient for waste which is produced at the Loviisa power plant during its lifetime operation. Within a couple of years a solidification plant will be built and the repository for solid waste will be given the final touches,” says Jussi Helske, director of the power plant. “Later on, around the year 2020, the repository will be extended for decommissioning waste.” Until now, the containers that were brought into the repository have been stored indoors in the power plant area. The waste repository is the final disposal site; one bedrock store holds about 6000 containers.
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