Sweden's nuclear regulator Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten (SSM) has said radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering (SKB) can meet all the safety and radiation protection requirements for its planned used nuclear fuel encapsulation plant. SKB has asked permission to build an encapsulation facility next to the Clab interim storage facility in Oskarshamn. The facility will be used for encapsulation of used nuclear fuel in copper disposal canisters. SKB has also submitted an application for permission to increase Clab's storage capacity from 8,000t to 11,000t. SSM said SKB has the potential to implement these plans "in compliance with regulations governing radiation protection and nuclear safety". But SSM said SKB must ask for new permission for the company's management of reactor core components being stored at Clab that will need to be removed to make space for additional quantities of used fuel.
SKB submitted applications to build Sweden's first repository for used fuel, together with a plant to encapsulate the fuel prior to disposal, to SSM in March 2011. The integrated facility - the encapsulation plant and the Clab interim storage facility - is referred to in SKB's application as Clink. SKB has since made both clarifications and additions to the applications, which are being reviewed by the SSM and the Land and Environment Court in Stockholm. The SSM is considering questions of nuclear safety and radiation at the facilities in accordance with the Nuclear Activities Act. The review undertaken by the Land and Environment Court is based on the Environment Code.
The SSM is scheduled to issue its final opinion on the repository and encapsulation plant in 2017. The final decision to authorize the project will be made by the government, which will base its decision on the assessments of both the SSM and the Land and Environment Court. However, before the government makes a final decision, it will consult with the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammars, which have the power to veto the application.
Once the government has made its decision, the application will again be referred to SSM and the court, which will stipulate the terms and conditions for the facilities. SKB currently anticipates starting construction of the repository and encapsulation plant sometime in the early 2020s. The facilities are expected to take 10 years to complete.