Forsmark repository go-ahead

19 March 2008

Deposits of low- and intermediate-level waste at Sweden’s Forsmark repository are to resume following permission from the Swedish State Radiation Protection Authority (SSI).

Permission for depositing waste in the underground repository has been withheld since 21 June 2007 because SSI said the Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company (SKB) was not living up to radiation protection standards.

Amongst other things, SKB had exceeded radiation protection boundaries and used inadequate methods to assess waste composition, according to SSI.

Although the deficiencies did not constitute an immediate risk to the environment, SSI saw the situation as serious.

SKB said the former permissions for the Forsmark repository were based on old operational waste figures and it would apply for a new licence that reflected the current position.

SKB has since responded to questions that SSI set in conjunction with the halting of permission.

Preliminary answers were given in October 2007 and SSI then asked for further information, which was provided by SKB in January 2008.

Börje Torstenfelt, unit head at SKB, said: “It is good that SSI is pleased with the replies and explanations that we have presented. The decision confirms that it is not daily operations that have been questioned. Instead, it is long-term safety that needed to be analysed further, with the future full store as a starting point.

“Concurrently with deposits being resumed, work will continue to update and complete the safety analysis which will be submitted to SSI on 30 April this year,” he said.

C-14 uncertainty is still proving to be an issue at the repository. Deposits of waste types with high concentrations of C-14 are still not permitted following the new radiation protection terms presented to SSI by SKB.

SKB plans to address this issue when the full safety analysis is submitted.

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