A leak from at a radioactive waste store at Forsmark in Sweden has led to caesium levels in routinely sampled water to be ten times higher than normal.

The leak occurred in a chamber at the final repository for operational radioactive waste, operated by SKB, and was detected in drainage water from the chamber. It has been put down to corrosion damage to a sheet metal drum used to store bitumenised low- and intermediate-level waste. Drainage water from the chamber’s roof came into contact with the waste.

Measures are being taken to solve the problem, including the construction of a better roof and, in the long-term, sealing the chamber in concrete.

All drainage water from the facility is being collected in a tank and regularly sampled before discharge to the Baltic Sea. The Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI), the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate and the Uppsala County Administrative Board have all been notified. The SSI are happy that levels are well below legal limits.

If drainage water were to exceed radiation limits it would be processed at the neighbouring Forsmark power plant’s waste facilities before discharge.

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