Waste Management

Sweden To Begin Spent Fuel Repository Construction In 2019

By Lubomir Mitev
28 August 2015

28 Aug (NucNet): The Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company SKB is planning to complete the licensing process for the country’s spent nuclear fuel repository at Forsmark and to begin construction in 2019, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has said.

SKB’s plans are outlined in the SSM report to the European Commission (EC) on the national plan for radioactive waste management, which has been submitted on 20 August 2015.

SKB plans to have the review of its licence application completed by the SSM and the land and environmental court, as well as to obtain a decision by the Swedish government and to complete the preliminary safety analysis report by 2019, the report said.

Construction and commissioning of the repository could then be completed by 2028, when trial operations would begin. Commercial operation is scheduled to start in 2030, the report also said.

In June 2015, SSM said its first preliminary review of SKB’s application for the repository indicated that SKB meets several regulatory requirements for the facility. SSM plans to present additional preliminary opinions later in 2015. The final assessment will be published in 2017.

SKB’s also plans the construction of an encapsulation plant for spent nuclear fuel at Oskarshamn in southeast Sweden, called Clink, the report sent to the EC says.

The report says Clink will receive the necessary licences by 2021 when it will begin construction. It will be commissioned in 2029, at the same time as the repository.

Until the repository comes into operation, Sweden’s spent nuclear fuel will be stored at SKB’s Clab interim storage facility, located at Oskarshamn and commissioned in 1985. Clink will be built alongside Clab.

The report also says new facilities will have to be built for the interim storage and encapsulation of spent nuclear fuel, if new Generation III reactors were to be built in Sweden. This is due to physical differences in the fuel assemblies as well as a higher burnup of the fuel, which would require keeping it for around 60 years in interim storage rather than the 40 to 50 years required for Generation II spent fuel.

Together with the longer operating times of new reactors, this means that interim storage and encapsulation processes will need to continue beyond the year 2100, the report says.

The possible need to construct a new spent fuel repository in the future will have to be examined at a later stage and will depend on the capacity of the repository to be built at Forsmark, the report says. It will be most advantageous in terms of safety and economy to site a potential new repository alongside the one already planned.

The report is available online: http://bit.ly/1hkeE1M

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