Finland begins construction of encapsulation plant

30 September 2019

Finnish nuclear waste management company Posiva announced on 23 September that it had laid the foundation stone for the encapsulation plant at its planned final deep geologic disposal facility at Eurajoki near the Olkiluoto nuclear plant.

Posiva CEO and President Janne Mokka said: “This demonstrates that we are proceeding in accordance with the plan defined in the 1980s."

He added: “We are now about to the take the preparations for final disposal to the implementation stage of the facilities; a stage which is unique on the global scale.”

In November 2015 Posiva was granted a licence by the government for the construction of the facilities at Olkiluoto, and construction work began in June. Posiva is responsible for the final disposal of used nuclear fuel generated by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) at its Olkiluoto nuclear plant and Fortum at its Loviisa nuclear station. TVO owns 60% of Posiva and Fortum owns 40%.

The repository site was selected in 2000 and parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the project in 2001. Posiva submitted a construction licence application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in December 2013. The Finnish government granted a construction licence for the project in November 2015 and construction started in 2016. Posiva announced in June that it was ready to start construction of the encapsulation plant and awarded Finnish construction company Skanska a €45m contract for implementation of the project.

Used fuel will be packed inside copper-steel canisters at the encapsulation plant before being transferred into the underground tunnels of the repository at a depth of 400-450 metres, and then into deposition holes lined with a bentonite buffer. Operation of the repository is expected to begin in 2023. The estimated cost of the project totals about €500 million ($547m).

Photo: Artists impression of encapsulation plant at Posiva (Credit: Posiva)

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