20 Apr (NucNet): Early construction contracts for Finland’s final deep geologic radioactive waste repository indicate costs meet expectations, but commodity price rises remain a risk over the long term, Sami Hautakangas, head of spent fuel and disposal services at Fortum, co-owner of repository developer Posiva, said.
According to Nuclear Energy Insider, Mr Hautakangas said Posiva’s construction phase procurement costs indicate the developer’s original cost estimate and schedule is “more or less in the right place”.
The cost of key materials such as copper and bentonite will remain a project risk due to the long timelines involved, Mr Hautakangas noted.
“There are risks, but at the moment it seems that when it comes to the construction itself, it seems to be nicely [within] budget and timetable,” he said.
In December 2016, Posiva began construction of the repository, the world's first permanent underground nuclear waste storage facility, on Olkiluoto island, Finland.
In the same month, Posiva said it has signed a €20m ($21m) contract for the excavation of the first tunnels for the Olkiluoto facility with YIT Construction.
Posiva, which is jointly-owned by nuclear utilities Fortum and TVO, is to carry out repository excavation work in a series of eight phases, which will allow investments to be broken down into portions over time and provide new site data to aid subsequent construction decisions, Nuclear Energy Insider said.
Finland's government awarded a construction permit for the project in November 2015 and a year later Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) authorised works to begin.
The facility is expected to be operational by 2024.
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