Swedish nuclear waste company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering (SKB) announced that that the Land and Environment Court had recommended approval of its application to extend the existing Final Repository for Short-lived Radioactive Waste, SFR, in Forsmark. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has also given its support.
The court ruled that the final repository concept is capable of meeting the Swedish Environmental Code’s very strict requirements for both long-term safety and the environment, said SKB Managing Director Eva Halldén.
SKB’s application for permission to extend SFR has now been approved in both the Land and Environment Court’s review under the Environmental Code and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s review under the Nuclear Activities Act. The final decision now rests with the government.
The SFR repository, located in the municipality of Östhammar, began operations in 1988. Situated 60m below the bottom of the Baltic Sea, it comprises four 160-metre-long rock vaults and a chamber in the bedrock, with a 50-metre-high concrete silo for the most radioactive waste. Two parallel one-kilometre-long access tunnels link the facility to the surface.
The SFR mainly holds short-lived waste from nuclear power plants as well as radioactive waste from hospitals, veterinary medicine, research and industry. The facility, which has the capacity for some 63,000 cubic metres of waste, is 60% full. SKB applied in December 2014 to triple the size of the facility by adding a further 170,000 cubic metres of capacity. The extension will comprise six new rock chambers, each 240-275m in length.
Photo: Sweden's proposed SFR repository with expansion shown in blue (Credit: SKB)