Promising results for Swedish repository

8 November 2006

Svensk Kärnbränslehantering (SKB), the Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company has submitted the results of its preliminary bedrock investigations in Forsmark and Oskarshamn to SKI, the national nuclear safety regulator, as part of its long-term safety assessment of sites being investigated for a final repository for nuclear waste.

The results of the investigations at Forsmark and Oskarshamn are promising, SKB says, however, more data are needed to complete the picture.

A final safety assessment with complete data from both sites will be presented in 2009.

In the final repository the spent nuclear fuel will be isolated in copper canisters deposited at a depth of about 500 m in the bedrock, embedded in clay. Important questions concerning the copper canister have been clarified in the assessment, says SKB, and it has been confirmed that the welding method works as intended and that the canister can withstand the pressures that may arise during future ice ages.

The assessment also identifies research fields that may increase the safety margins for the final repository. These include the effect of the heat from the spent nuclear fuel on the rock, and the long-term function of the bentonite clay surrounding the canisters.

“The assessment is based on a limited quantity of data from the different sites. In particular we need additional data on the Laxemar area in Oskarshamn. Here we are focusing the investigations on a new area immediately adjacent to the area on which this safety assessment is based,” says Allan Hedin, chief safety analyst at SKB.

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