Posiva president Janne Mokka said the Finnish nuclear power industry can take pride in the decision to begin construction of the facility. It means Finland will become the first country in the world to begin construction of a final repository for used nuclear fuel.
In November 2015 Posiva was granted a licence by the government for the construction of the facility.
At the time Posiva said the final disposal of spent fuel was expected to start in the early 2020s. In a statement today Posiva did not give any update on this schedule.
Posiva is responsible for the final disposal of used nuclear fuel generated by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) at its nuclear station in Olkiluoto and Fortum at its nuclear station in Loviisa. TVO owns 60% of Posiva and Fortum owns 40%.
In Finland, full lifecycle management of nuclear fuel is a precondition for the production of nuclear electricity.
Posiva said “the very significant project” it is about to launch covers the encapsulation plant, the systems needed to begin final disposal, the operating licence process, and preparations for the supply chains required for the production stage of the facility.
The company has been developing a solution for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel since the 1970s and has carried R&D at the Onkalo characterisation facility at Olkiluoto.
Mr Mokka called the Olkiluoto final disposal project “pioneering” and said it is important not only for Finland, but also on a global scale.
In the final disposal facility, spent fuel assemblies will be encapsulated and placed in the bedrock at a depth of about 400 metres for permanent disposal. The facility comprises two sections: the above-ground encapsulation plant for the encapsulation of the spent fuel in canisters, and the final repository deep in the bedrock, with tunnels in which the spent fuel will be placed.
The company has estimated the total cost of final disposal is at €3bn ($3.2bn), with the long service life of the final disposal facility contributing most to that figure.