Swedish nuclear waste management company SKB said that it will be granted a permit under the Environmental Code for extended operations at its final repository for short-lived radioactive waste (SFR) at Forsmark. The news follows a recommendation by Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten – SSM) to the Land and Environment Court.
“We are pleased that the Authority's assessment is that SKB has shown that an expanded SFR remains safe during both operations and in the long term,” said SKB CEO Eva Halldén.
SKB said expansion of the SFR is a prerequisite for final disposal of low- and intermediate-level waste from the demolition of Swedish nuclear plants. The next step is the main negotiation that will be held in the Land and Environment Court in autumn 2019.
In the 1970s, the nuclear power companies in Sweden joined forces and formed SKB to take care of all nuclear power plant radioactive waste.
The SFR repository, which began operations in 1988, is located 50m below the Baltic Sea bed. 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. The facility is linked to the surface by two parallel access tunnels, each 1km long. Most of the short-lived radioactive waste deposited in the SFR is from Sweden’s reactors, but it also takes radioactive waste from hospitals, veterinary medicine, research and industry.
The SFR currently has the capacity to store about 63,000 cubic metres of waste. SKB applied in December 2014 to triple its size to about 200,000 cubic metres. The extension of the repository will comprise six new rock chambers.
This application is being reviewed by both SSM and the Land and Environment Court. The SSM is considering issues of nuclear safety and radiation. The review undertaken by the Land and Environment Court is based on the Environmental Code.
Photo: The existing SFR (credit: SKB)